Gordon C. Todd, 85, passed away peacefully on April 1, 2020 at the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg.
He was born in 1935 to C.J. “Tex” and Geneva “Neva” (Gentry) Todd in Drumright, Oklahoma. When Gordon was 4 years old, the family moved to Normal, Illinois where he grew up with his 5 siblings. He enjoyed sports and played football, basketball and ran track before graduating from Normal Community High School in 1953. After graduation he married Janet Bissey, joined the U. S. Air Force and began raising a family. He eventually switched to the U. S. Army and was a veteran of 2 1/2 years of combat duty in Vietnam. Among some 10 awards and decorations, he held the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantryman's Badge and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster. While on active duty, he obtained his master's degree in the field of education through the G.I. Bill.
Gordon's next career was in education, where he was a business teacher at Atchison High School, coaching both football and track. After working as athletic director and vice principal, he retired in 1986. With the kids grown and on their own, he and Janet divorced and he began traveling, ending up in the Philippines.
While in the Philippines, Gordon married "Andrea" Criselda Catabay Yutuc and started another family. After surviving the 1990 Luzon earthquake and the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption, he decided to move the family back to the United States, eventually ending up in the Kansas City Missouri area. Gordon and Criselda later divorced.
In 2008 Gordon moved to Florida where he could fish daily and golf regularly. At the end of 2012, health problems attributed to exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam became bad enough that he asked three of his daughters to help him move back to the Lawrence/Kansas City Area to be closer to family.
He was an avid coin collector all his adult life, and passionate about breeding, showing & judging English Bulldogs.
His final years were spent in the excellent care of the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, David Mac Todd; his son, Stephen Michael Todd; and infant daughter, Anne Elizabeth Todd.
He is survived by his
Daughters: Debbie Anderson (Curt) of Lawrence, KS
Mary K. Todd (Tom Weltsch) of Zeandale, KS
Joanne Gugg (Jim) of West Bend, WI
Sons: David Todd (Sue) of Anchorage, AK
Adam Todd of Independence, MO
Daughter-in-law: Beth Todd (Randy Peters) of Lee's Summit MO
Step-daughter: Diane Mediatrix Yutuc (Derrick D. Anderson, Jr.) of Omaha NE
Sisters: Betty Jo Kashner of Wareham, MA
Carol Mayala of Stillwater, MN
Sandra Stowers of Normal, IL
Sharon Fippinger of Sarasota, FL
Former wives: Janet Bissey Todd of Lawrence, KS
Criselda Catabay Todd of Harrisonville, MO
Gordon's family included 14 grandchildren & (17 great-grandchildren):
Catherine Anderson Laverick (Russ) (Kyle, Brandon & Holly Bandelier) (Mattea & Shea Laverick)
Carolyn Anderson Goodwin (Jason) (Geneva & Charlie Goodwin)
Lindsay Todd Perkins (Patrick) (Elder, Sayer and Stevie Perkins)
Kimberly Gugg Calliari (Jason) (Elizabeth & Matthew Calliari)
David Gugg (Alesia) (Nathan, Juliana, Andrew, Luke Gugg)
Stephen Gugg (Mandy) (Bradley Gugg)
Christine Gugg (Rachel Stevenson)
Natalya Loren Washington
Gordon always felt that his family was his legacy.
While Retired Major Gordon Todd had an exemplary and highly decorated career, in his own eyes his greatest contribution and comfort during his time on earth was his family. He loved his parents and his sisters and brother dearly, and they provided for him a wonderful model of warmth, love, and sharing which he passed along to his own family.
Although he was fond of saying, “Do as I say, not as I do,” he taught his children through both instruction and example. Gordon was at heart an entertainer, and used humor, jokes, music and wit to teach, inspire, and encourage others. He was not above making himself the clown in order to provoke smiles, and the neighborhood children were known to come to the house and ask if “Mr. Todd could come out to play.”One of his greatest gifts to his family was the joy of laughter; that gift has also been passed along to the three generations of families that have followed his.
Gordon used his extroverted personality to reach out to others, even strangers, to ease a heart or correct a wrong. He was a strong believer in lending a hand, putting others at ease, and standing up for the little guy. He taught his children in no uncertain terms about the love of Almighty God for all people, and instilled a strong sense of generosity and Christian charity wherever he was given a chance.
Coming of age as a man in the 50’s and 60’s, Gordon’s heart ached at the prejudice and racism of the times. He would abide no acts or even slight insinuations of unkindness or bias, gently using humor or intellectual arguments to sway others around him to a different way of thinking. People of all ages, religions, races, intellectual abilities, or class—found in Gordon a true friend.
Gordon loved life, happily celebrating Christmas, honoring his country, and appreciating his children’s sports, arts, and intellectual endeavors. He particularly loved singing with his children, although often admonished them “not to quit your day job”… Making music, practicing Judo, bowling, golfing, playing cards, and fishing were hobbies he most enjoyed.
In the end, a strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his beloved Catholic Church brought Gordon much peace through his final years of suffering from the effects of Agent Orange. He always tried to impart to others that our difficulties on earth are small compared to the happiness that has been prepared for us in the life to come.
As his youngest child said after his death, “Your teachings of faith, compassion and love will keep my heart from breaking”… May He Rest in Peace.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Veterans Assistance League at the Missouri Veterans Home in Warrensburg, or the Crossroads Hospice Charitable Foundation.
Funeral Services will be held at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Higginsville at a later date.