Patricia Ann Gordon of Fair Oaks passed away suddenly and peacefully on December 13, 2019 after complications from emergency heart surgery while surrounded by her loving family. The daughter of the late Milton and Katherine Wiscomb Nielsen and the sister of the late Robert W. Nielsen, Pat was born on July 11, 1938 in Los Angeles, Calif. Pat is survived by Jim, her devoted husband of 59 years and son Robert (Colleen) and children Rebecca, Michael, Jonathan, and Katherine Gordon; daughter Lisa (Greg) and children Tyler, Katherine, and Rachael Brown; and son Christopher (Carrie) and children Elizabeth, Matthew, and Olivia Gordon.
Pat grew up in Montebello, California and graduated from Montebello High School. She received her bachelor’s teaching degree from Oregon State University. She was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority when she met her future husband, Jim on their first date after an OSU-UCLA basketball game where she cheered on the Beavers as one of OSU’S six female cheerleaders. Pat and Jim married soon after graduation and immediately left for helicopter flight school in Texas and Alabama. While Jim was stationed at Ft. Benning, GA, Pat taught school at Benning Hills School for two years before they eventually returned to the West Coast. She taught sixth grade gifted students at Parkrose Russell School in Portland before moving to San Jose and Fair Oaks, which has been their home for 41 years.
After their three children were older, Pat returned to teaching, this time at Pershing School in San Juan Unified where she taught fifth grade gifted students in the Rapid Learner program. During this time, she returned to school and received her master’s degree. Seeking a new challenge, Pat then became Head of School at St. Albans Country Day School in Roseville for 14 years before retiring. She loved teaching and while at St, Albans she taught the Great Books program to the middle school students and writing to other grades. She co-authored two children’s books, one of which became a book-of-the month club and Scholastic Books selection (Kids Learn America). She loved teaching, writing, painting, reading, Broadway musicals, classical music, Peter, Paul and Mary, and the Beatles. Her passion in teaching always focused on helping students achieve their personal best and discover talents and skills they never knew they had. She was a multi-talented woman who loved learning--a wonderful teacher, leader, and friend to many, but her dearest treasures however, were husband Jim, her children, and grandchildren.
She was “Mimi” to her ten grandchildren, and they loved being with her and Papa, especially when she treated them to her family-favorite chocolate milkshakes. Pat was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and she held many positions from overseeing Primary and Young Women programs, teaching young people and adults, writing and directing church musicals (roadshows and dance festivals).
Memorial services for Pat will be held on Saturday, December 21st at 10:00 am at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 8267 Deseret Ave., Fair Oaks, CA. All are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the American Breast Cancer Foundation (Pat was a two-time survivor of breast cancer). PRICE FUNERAL CHAPEL (916-725-2109), directors.