Friday, February 1, 2013

"There would be no Other Sheep without Gordon"

Gordon Herzog
Other Sheep board member
Died January 29, 2013

A tribute to Gordon I. Herzog who served as a board member with Other Sheep from its inception in 1992 until his passing, January 29, 2013.

By Rev. Stephen Parelli,
Other Sheep Executive Director
Written January 29, 2013, Bronx, New York
Published on this Other Sheep Blog on February 1, 6:30 PM, Central Time, from Gordon's desk in his bedroom, Florissant, Missouri - where he always let me work online when visiting here.

We were sitting at a restaurant table, Rev. Thomas Hanks and I.

I can't remember if we were still in St. Louis after the Other Sheep 2012 November annual business meeting, or if we were in Chicago a week or so later, attending the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference.

Either way, it was what Tom said that struck me: "There would be no Other Sheep without Gordon."

Tom Hanks
Co-Founder of Other Sheep
Other Sheep was the vision of Tom Hanks, American missionary in Argentina. But it took a Gordon Herzog, lawyer and boyhood friend to Tom Hanks, to make the dream a reality.

In 1992, just more than twenty years ago, Other Sheep was born in Argentina. Gordon had come out as a gay man years before Tom. When missionary Tom came out in Argentina in the late 1980s, he wrote a letter back home to his constituency. When Other Sheep was on the drawing board, it was just natural that Gordon, his longtime friend and lawyer, should be asked to write up the legal papers, sit on the board, and help promote Other Sheep at home in the USA. And Gordon did just that, for no less a reason than this: Tom was his friend.

Gordon's Home, Where the Other Sheep
Board of Directors often held their
annual meeting
Jose, my husband and Other Sheep Coordinator, and I came on board Other Sheep in 2005, and we've never had anyone, anywhere, love us more than Gordon, and in return we loved him, too. It couldn't be helped!

Every year, during the annual business meeting, we stayed in his grand home on the Missouri River, took trips with his car, worked at Other Sheep business in his "barn" - his lawyer's office - or at his desk and computer in his room. We spent evenings with him eating out, or visiting with him and his neighbor, or watching TV. We attended his church, met and had good times with his family, and watered his dogs. Gordon's home was our second home in so many ways. Jose and I relished our visits with Gordon. November's Other Sheep annual meeting was like going home, a reunion and trip we always were glad to make. We laughed together with Gordon, let him talk politics, borrowed his videos - returning them only to borrow more, raided his refrigerator, and kept a secret we promised to keep. We felt playful and giddy at Gordon's home, as if we could do no wrong.

The Missouri River, View from Gorond's Home 
Jose and I will miss him dearly. St. Louis is a special place to us because Gordon was there! And, oh yes, because St. Louis is the place where Gordon, and others who are also dear friends of Tom and Gordon, all made Other Sheep happen here in the United States with a focus on helping LGBT people of faith throughout the world.

Other Sheep, in its 20 years of history, has reached out and touched people in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Gordon shares greatly in that legacy. His life, through his work with Other Sheep, touches gay Christian people today around the world. One gay Christian man in Argentina, asking another gay Christian man in St. Louis to help, together and with the help of others, have ministered to gay and straight people in all parts of the world, affirming them and loving them, through Other Sheep.

Jose and I will miss you Gordon! And on behalf of all the people we've had the opportunity to meet, they join me in saying "Thank you for your love and service with Other Sheep."

Tom Hanks, left, and Gordon Herzog
November 10, 2012 - Following the annual Othre Sheep
board meeting, out for dinner at an area restaurant

1 comment:

Charles Morris said...

Gordon was my wife's and my attorney for quite a few years, as well as a dear friend. He was helpful with advice regarding my final parish's business for years. He and I served together on the Grace Hill Settlement House Board and helped start the St. Louis Airport Interfaith Chaplancy in 1985, serving on its board for several years and seeing the completion of its lovely Chapel and Office in Lambert St. Louis International Airport, in which he gave the largest memorial window. truly a beautiful one. Of course in the Episcopal diocese of Missouri, he and I were both active for many years. He will be greatly missed in these parts!

The Rev Charles H. Morris, D. Min.
retired Episcopal priest.