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Jane "Claudia" Barnett GordonSeptember 10, 1938 ~ April 10, 2017 (age 78)
Jane Claudia Barnett Gordon (“Claudia”), 78, died on April 10, 2017 after a tenaciously fought battle with breast cancer. Throughout her life, art gave her great joy, whether listening to a Saturday afternoon radio broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera around the kitchen table with her parents, crafting copper enamel crucifixes with the kiln in her garage, or acting as an undercover detective in a Playreaders’ performance at the Glenmoor Retirement Community with her friends. She came by this love naturally.
Claudia was born on September 10, 1938 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris, France, to Bion Hall Barnett, Jr. and Yvonne Charvot Barnett. Claudia’s maternal grandfather, Dr. Eugene Louis Charvot, served as a surgeon in the French army and was a gifted artist, whose oil paintings of sun-filled Moroccan back streets and aqua fortis etchings of dairy maids and Parisian bell towers, are part of the permanent collection of Jacksonville’s Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Claudia’s mother Yvonne was trained as a concert pianist at the Paris Conservatory of Music and gave the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s first solo artist performance in 1952: Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor. Claudia’s father Bion, Jr. earned a Legion d’Honneur medal from the French government for his beautiful pastel and oil paintings, especially those of the vistas from their mountaintop villa in Ajaccio, Corsica (birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte).
Leaving Lisbon, Portugal in 1941 on one of the last passenger liners to cross the Atlantic to America after the Nazi occupation of France, Claudia subsequently grew up in Jacksonville, where her grandfather Bion Hall, Sr. had transformed the family’s banking business into the Barnett National Bank, acquired by the Bank of America in 1997. Claudia graduated high school from Jacksonville’s Bartram School in 1955 and received a B.A. in Art from the College of New Rochelle in New York in 1959. Over the course of her life, she found numerous ways to share her artistic gifts, from acting as art director of the Jacksonville Junior League magazine, to serving as a docent at the Jacksonville Children’s’ Museum and Cummer Museum and arranging altar flowers and assisting her husband, architect William Stanly Gordon, in renovating and maintaining St. John’s Cathedral, where she was a faithful parishioner and passionate supporter of its music program. She gave generously to ensure Jacksonville and St. Augustine residents could have more music in their lives, endowing the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra’s Young Artist Program with her sister Yvonne West, serving on the board of directors of the St. Augustine Music Festival, and supporting the Beaches Fine Arts Series.
After moving to the Glenmoor Retirement Facility in 2003, she became an active leader in the community, chairing or serving as a member of numerous campus committees, including Vice President of the Resident’s Council, activities she continued to pursue while fighting Stage IV cancer. She also spearheaded Glenmoor’s participation in Jacksonville’s annual Alzheimer’s walkathon after her husband’s death from the disease in 2005. Her lifelong kindness and attentiveness to others, even in the face of unremitting pain, was inspirational, and we are grateful for the many ways she added meaning to our lives.
Surviving family members include her daughter, Claudia Gordon Sayre (m. Dan Sayre) of Kennebunk, Maine; a son, William Stanly Gordon, Jr. (m. Sahoko Tamagawa) of Berkeley, CA; four grandchildren, Emma L’Engle Sayre, Zoe Crowell Sayre, Mira Tamagawa Gordon, and Leo Tamagawa Gordon; and many nieces and nephews.
A viewing will be held at St. John's Cathedral of Jacksonville at 1 PM, Thursday, April 13, followed by a funeral service at 2 PM with the Very Reverend Kate Moorehead officiating.
Claudia's family would like to thank her Mayo Clinic oncologist Dr. Alvaro Moreno and the caregivers, whose deft loving care sustained her so long in her valiant fight against cancer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Claudia and Stanly Gordon Music Endowment of St. John’s Cathedral, 256 E. Church St., Jacksonville, FL 32202 or the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, 300 Water St., Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32202.