Honoring Legacies: A Father's Day Tribute to Charles O. Gordon and Dr. Enuf

Honoring Legacies: A Father's Day Tribute to Charles O. Gordon and Dr. Enuf

Published by: David Cate
June 16, 2024

I'm convinced books shake hands with each other. Finish reading one, and a phrase or concept continues to echo like a hall of mirrors, and one book leads to another. Here's a meaningful quote for this Father's Day.

A few weeks ago, I closed the book on, "Wind, Sand and Stars," and placed it on window sill on Broad Street. This adventure from French aristocrat aviator-writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tells of an early mail pilot flying over the Sahara. It's a tale of heroism, Nature, and a quest for meaning in the skies of 1935.

Not long after reading that book, I learned that one of my clients was a World War II glider pilot with the 435th Glider Pilot Infantry Company, the first and only all-officer combat unit.

Just before Memorial Day, Chuck Gordon, CEO of Dr. Enuf, went upstairs and returned with a hard-bound book featuring a blue and green paper cover. On the front was an illustration of a Waco CG-4A glider in combat.

It was the perfect direction for the winds to carry me to this quote on Father's Day.

Chuck's father, Charles O. Gordon founded Dr. Enuf and together with his family, the continue to run this very successful and iconic family business, now celebrating its seventy-fifth year.

"Soaring Life's Currents" is a memoir of Charles's life. From the first pages, the book offers an intriguing account of a rare breed.

Chapter One begins with a quote from the author that reads...

"Someone once told me I was a fascinating person, one that many other people would like to learn more about. I believe my father, Lawrence E. Gordon Sr., was a great man, and I'm just continuing with his mission, purpose, and faith." - Charles O'Neale Gordon Sr.

That struck me. Of all the things to craft into your life's memoir, that phrase carries significant weight.

When I read about his life of remarkable characters, numerous successes, and ongoing fortune, I had to ask myself, "What runs through the veins of a man like this?"

Charles grew up the son of Pearl Cable Gordon and Lawrence Elliott Gordon in Marion, Virginia. He graduated from Virginia Tech after leading many campus activities, married his wife Evelyn, joined the military, and traveled around the country learning to be a Glider pilot. Helicopters were not yet in combat, and the Air Force was called the Army Air Forces. Charles flew combat missions in Germany and France in a glider made of paper and wood. He carried payloads that included 15 men or a 4000-pound load. This book describes his adventures and service throughout.

A Silver Star recipient, he returned to Marion and started a family with six children. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, achieving status in the Scottish Rite. He started a furniture business, Gordon Fine Furniture, and later founded Tri-City Beverage, elevating brands like Mountain Dew and Dr. Enuf. He bought Citrus Farms in Florida, served as mayor of Johnson City, was active in church and the business community, and was a significant employer and philanthropist. His long list of merits and awards followed his years of service.

Later in life, he was flying a sailplane outside of Elizabethton and had a crash landing that nearly severed both ankles. His son Chuck was with him that day, but his return to the playing field was quick and resolute – as always.

Charles O. Gordon lived to be 84 years old and passed away in August 2004. I've had the fortune of working with this client for a long time now and, like others, consider myself one of their biggest fans. It's an honor to help continue the mission of this family.

On Father's Day, here's to a life well lived. We all have our own books, and I'm intrigued by others whose lives, like ours, are filled with adventure and spirit.

Happy Father's Day to all.