Missing Gordon

Gordon LawrenceOur mentor and good friend Gordon Lawrence recently died from a bout with pneumonia that he was ultimately unable to surmount. He was 80 and had a full and rewarding life but I, amongst many, am having a hard time imagining life without him.

Many people know CAPT was founded in the mid-seventies by Isabel Myers, the author of the MBTI® assessment, and Dr. Mary McCaulley, a clinical psychologist at the University of Florida. What they may not know is that Gordon, who was then a Professor at the College of Education, had through prior association with Isabel and Mary already developed a deep interest in type. Early on he recognized the potential for helping teachers become better at their craft through the understanding and use of psychological type in the classroom.
A self-proclaimed ENTP, Gordon loved everything about teaching and learning. He taught at UF for more than 25 years before he “retired,” but honestly, there was no such thing for Gordon.  He wrote 15 books and numerous articles and publications during his lifetime. CAPT had the honor of publishing his bestselling book, People Types and Tiger Stripes, which came out in the 4th edition last year.
Gordon was an integral part of CAPT from the beginning. When we were incorporated in 1975 he became a founding board member. He called himself a “board member for life” and indeed he was – in all of the best ways. As a nonprofit organization, there were many times in the early days when it was unclear if CAPT had the wherewithal to survive.  On more than one occasion Gordon stepped in both financially and spiritually to help the organization carry on. Without Gordon’s steadfast support it is possible that CAPT would not have made it through those nascent years.

I last saw Gordon in November. I drove to his home to talk with him about an educational project we were considering. It was a beautiful fall morning, with the sun coming in through the windows, and I stayed and chatted about this and that for a good hour longer than I had planned. As always, I learned something new from him and as I was pulling out of the driveway my thought was, “This is something I need to do more often.” I felt so refreshed and energized by our conversation. Of course, life is hectic with more things to get done than can realistically be accomplished and I didn’t get to see him again, but I wouldn’t trade that time or that memory of him for the world.
This was a man with many gifts. He was so very bright, curious, engaged, wise, and committed to all those things he considered important. His gifts became our gifts and he will be sorely missed by us all.


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