Stephen Neil Van Gordon
Born March 15, 1942 – Died January 22, 2024
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 15, 1942 and raised in Merlin, Oregon from the age of two when his father and mother, Lyle, and Beth Van Gordon, with his older sister, Nancy moved to Oregon. His younger brother, Doug, was added to the family in 1945.
Growing up Steve loved hunting, fishing and, as a teenager, cars. Steve and Doug were very adventurous and when things didn’t go as planned, their favorite expression to each other was “don’t tell mom”.
When he was 17, he and his best friend, Kenny Priebs, joined the Navy under the “Buddy System” and then didn’t see each other again until they were discharged at the age of 21. Steve served on an aircraft carrier, the USS Hancock. His duty station was the engine room.
After the service he worked in the woods, built roads, drilled water wells in Northern California, Jackson, and Josephine Counties, was a fishing guide and had one of the original jet boat excursions on the Rogue River, started his own pump company and then decided he wanted to learn to fly. He used his GI Bill to fund his lessons at the Merlin airport, and upon his graduation he became a charter pilot and gave flying lessons. He accumulated over 2,000 hours in various small airplanes. Next, he went into real estate and after passing the requirements, he became an agent and later he became a broker. He finally found his calling when he attended a real estate auction and decided he was going to be an auctioneer and went to school in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
He started working for an auction company in San Jose, California where he met his wife, Marilyn, in 1982. They were married in Reno, Nevada, on February 26, 1983 and combined their family of five children which consisted of Lisa, Leigh, Lori, Rob, and Steve’s son Dave. In April of 1984 Steve and Marilyn moved back to Grants Pass and started Team Van Gordon Auctioneers. In 1988 they moved their operation to Canby, Oregon and opened an equipment/auto public auction facility on 5 acres in Barlow, Oregon, as well as continuing to do on-site auctions. In 2015 they sold their business and retired to Merlin, Oregon.
Steve was a member of the following Organizations:
*The National Auctioneers Association and served as Director from 1996 to 2000.
*The Oregon Auctioneers Association where he served as President for two terms. In 1996 he won best auctioneer at the Oregon State Fair and was later inducted into the OAA Hall of Fame.
*Steve was proud of being a Canby Rotarian and served as President for one year.
Unusual Challenges Steve dared:
*Participated in The Oregonian sponsored 200-mile weekend bike ride.
*Climbed Mount Hood with son Dave and 16 other climbers.
*Souped up an older Chevrolet and took it to the Salt Flats in Utah. He was able to get into the 135 MPH Club. The following year he went back with the same car and pit crew, Lupe and Alfredo, and was able to qualify at 150 MPH.
Steve was a master story teller and his family and friends loved to listen to all his experiences. We already miss him.
A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 a.m., February 2, 2024 at Hull & Hull Funeral Directors, 612 NW “A” Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526.
A Live stream link will be available at www.since1928hull.com for those unable to attend the service.
Please share a message or sign the guestbook at www.since1928hull.com.