Jonas, Gordon Tate
Gordon Tate Jonas shook the bonds of this earth in the early evening hours of Friday, May 8, 2009. He has entered the heavenly realm to meet the God he has loved and served so well all the days of his life. Gordon was born on Sunday, May 11, 1919, in Cripple Creek, Va. He was the thirteenth, and last surviving child of Elijah and Senah Jonas.
Gordon proudly served his country during World War II by enlisting in the United States Navy in 1942. Rarely mentioning his wartime experiences, Gordon saw action aboard the USS Heermann in Tarawa and Guadalcanal. He rose to the rank of Electrician’s Mate First Class before being honorably discharged in 1945.
During these years in the Navy Gordon met and wed his sweetheart, Peggy Whittaker, in November 1944. They were married nearly 62 years at the time of her death in October of 2006.
Upon his return to Virginia, Gordon and Peggy settled in Wytheville, Va. It was here that that Gordon began his walk with the Lord. He was baptized in 1944 and was a man dedicated to living his life as a Christian example to others. He lived the rest of his life serving others and giving God the glory. Gordon was passionate about the Bible and loved to teach its lessons to others. He was a faithful member of the Radford Church of Christ for nearly 50 years. During this time he served as a Bible teacher and an elder for the local Church of Christ.
Gordon was loved as a father by many and as a friend by all. He was always ready with a smile and a handshake for anyone he happened to meet. In 1952, he and his family moved to Nashville, Tenn., where Gordon enrolled at David Lipscomb College. He graduated Suma Cum Laude in 1956 and moved to Covington, Va. where he taught in the local high school. He also served as the pulpit minister for the newly founded Covington Church of Christ.
In 1960 the family moved to Radford, Va. as Gordon accepted a position with the fledgling Vocational Technical School. When the community college system came into being, Gordon was instrumental in helping the school become realty. He worked with the New River Community College both as an instructor and a dean until his retirement in 1981. He expanded minds and touched many lives during his time at the college.
Gordon was a brilliant man, able to understand the most intricate workings of machines, a gifted woodworker, a talented artist, and a handyman extraordinaire. He could repair just about anything, from things as big as a car engine down to a tiny child’s toy teacup; he had the patience and the skill to put any broken thing aright. His talents were exceeded only by his humility. He would never brag about anything he could do, accepting that it was just the way God had made him.
Gordon leaves his much-loved children, Nancy Mabry, of Pauline, S.C., Danny Jonas and his wife, Debbie, of Max Meadows, Va., and Sally Gotkiewicz and her husband, Tim, of Montgomery, Ala. Gordon also leaves his dear grandchildren, Karen Mabry, Ph. D., of Oxford, Ohio, Cathy and Joshua Freeman, of Buffalo, S.C., Shannon, Ph. D. and India Jonas, of Raleigh, N.C., Justin Jonas, of Max Meadows, Lisa and Thomas O’Neal, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and Ryan and Julie Gotkiewicz, of Montgomery, Ala. Gordon also leaves two great-grandchildren, Abbigail and Aryn Freeman. Special thanks to Grady Hunt, Jim Jonas, Christine Porter and numerous other nieces and nephews.
Gordon Jonas was a kind, gentle, loving husband and father. His wife adored him and his children cherished him. We were truly blessed to have him as a father, our hearts ache as we mourn his death, but our hearts sing knowing that a good and faithful servant has been called into the presence of his Master.
The family will receive friends at the Mullins Funeral Home in Radford from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, 2009. Funeral services will be conducted by Mr. Larry Philips and Mr. John Croft at the Radford Church of Christ on Monday, May 11, 2009, at 11 am. Entombment will follow in the Highland Memory Gardens Mausoleum in Dublin. The Jonas family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford, www.mullinsfuneralhome.com.