Tributes to Portadown journalist Victor Gordon who died peacefully at home
PORTADOWN journalist Victor Gordon has died following a short illness - just 18 months after retiring aged 74.
The veteran reporter passed away peacefully at his home in the Co Armagh town on Sunday surrounded by his family.
Barring a short period as an editor in the Armagh Guardian, Mr Gordon spent 46 years as a reporter on the Portadown Times before retiring last year.
Even after his second official `retirement' he continued to freelance for the paper.
It was a fourth career for him, after spells as a quantity surveyor, teaching children with learning difficulties and social work, but it turned out to be his vocation.
He returned to his desk after two heart attacks (the first at 36 years old), a quadruple heart by-pass and prostate cancer with its associated radiotherapy treatment.
A former Garvaghy Road resident, who was a school friend of Portadown Orange Order leader Harold Gracey, Mr Gordon saw his beat evolve from a quiet market town to, for a period, the fulcrum of murder and sectarianism.
Clint Aiken, editor of the Portadown Times, paid tribute to his colleague.
"This is a sad day for the Portadown Times and for Victor's many friends and colleagues who worked with him down the years," he said.
"It really is the end of an era."
There was tribute to from Portadown FC, where he was a life-long supporter.
"All at Portadown FC are deeply saddened at the passing of a dear friend and lifelong supporter Victor Gordon," a spokesman said.
"His knowledge of the club through his work as a journalist with the Portadown Times is legendary."
SDLP Upper Bann assembly member Dolores Kelly yesterday described Mr Gordon as "a fair, impartial and tenacious reporter with a long and distinguished career".
"There isn't a politician or a journalist across the north who didn't know and respect Victor Gordon," she said.
"You always knew where you stood with Victor. He was a real character and was well known for his mischievous sense of humour."
Sinn Féin assembly member John O'Dowd said Mr Gordon had been "a familiar figure at local and wider political events".
"He had his own unassuming way of getting the news for his readers. He covered many of the major news stories both locally and nationally," he said.
"A familiar sight at council meetings or major political summits, Victor would have the notepad and pen in hand with the camera in the pocket ready for the accompanying photo.
"While he was always courteous and had a quick wit you knew you had to be on top of your game when being interviewed by Victor.
"He will be sadly missed by local politicians, journalists and readers of politics."
Victor Gordon is survived by his wife Elizabeth, children Paul, Heather and Fiona and grandchildren.