Fr. Kevin Gordon

Anita Draper
Catholic Herald staff

A longtime priest of the Diocese of Superior, who also ministered in many diocesan capacities, has passed away.

Fr. Kevin Gordon, 77, who had over the years served as the Diocese of Superior’s Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, member of the vocations team, dean, member of the presbyteral council and priest personnel placement board, coordinator of health affairs and in other diocesan capacities, died at home the afternoon of Thursday, March 11.

He suffered from a number of health issues and had returned to active ministry twice following serious illness, including advanced cancer.

Retired from active ministry in December 2018, he had last been the pastor of five parishes in the Bayfield peninsula, including his home parish, St. Louis in Washburn, as well as parishes in Bayfield, Red Cliff, La Pointe, Cornucopia and Bayfield. He also served parishes in Superior, Rice Lake, Minong, Foxboro, Solon Springs, Gordon and Pattison Park during his priestly ministry. He was also a Knights of Columbus chaplain, temporary spiritual director for Teens Encounter Christ and sat on the permanent diaconate board.

Fr. Gordon was a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. He was born in Hayward and in youth, he attended the Catholic grade school run by the Joliet Franciscan sisters in Red Cliff.

He earned several degrees in the medical field before studying at Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corner, and the University of Iowa. He was ordained to the diocesan priesthood July 31, 1983, by the late Bishop Raphael Fliss at St. Francis Church, Red Cliff.

In 2018, Fr. Gordon gathered with more than 300 people at his home parish to celebrate his 35th jubilee. Bishop James P. Powers, the late Bishop Paul Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth, and former Diocese of Superior Bishop Peter Christensen, now of Boise, Idaho, joined together to honor him.

“For 35 years, Fr. Kevin has very faithfully and joyfully served the diocese in any way he was ever asked,” Bishop Powers said during his homily. “On behalf of myself and all the people of the diocese, thank you for saying yes to God’s invitation to come, follow me.”

In addressing the crowd after Communion, Fr. Gordon quoted St. Augustine: “‘To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him, the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.’

“The words of St. Augustine resonate in my heart,” Fr. Gordon added. “These 35 years of priesthood have been an amazing adventure. I love the church, and I love the people who make it up.”

Although dates had not been set as of press time, diocesan officials expect there will be a private family funeral in the near future and a celebration of life held sometime this summer.