LOCKSLEY--Gordon, private art dealer, contemporary art collector and bon vivant, passed away quietly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on February 1, 2014. He was 84. Mr. Locksley is remembered for his keen wit and wry sense of humor, his thoughtful generosity and devotion to friends, family and the art world. He is survived by his spouse, Wayne Boeck and long time partner George Shea. Mr. Locksley was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 27, 1930 to Sheila and William Locksley (Lukowitz). Gordon's father worked in pharmaceutical sales for Max Factor and instilled a love of fragrances and their histories in his young son. His grandparents, Isadore and Ella Lukowitz, came from Poland, emigrating before World War II and were renowned for their bakery, which provided Chicago residents with their famous onion rye bread. As a teenager, Gordon developed a love of opera, through weekly radio programs and later, a passion for Broadway musicals. Surrounded by his mother and aunts, Gordon was tutored in the art of cooking and acquired a passion for fine dining and entertaining, which lasted throughout his life. As a young man, Mr. Locksley lived briefly in Columbus, Ohio and then moved to Minneapolis, where he arrived on a bus in a snowstorm, wrapped in an opera cape.and in 1954 met Dr. George Shea, a professor of Japanese language and literature at the University of Minnesota. Together they opened the Red Carpet Beauty Salon and College, where Gordon styled hair, and where he eventually began selling art, first on the salon walls and then in a private space which came to be known as Locksley Shea Gallery, one of the leading spaces for contemporary art in Minneapolis, in the 1960s and 70s. The Locksley Shea Gallery hosted exhibitions by many of the leading names in contemporary art; Christo, Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, Brice Marden, Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Rauschenberg all came for the opening night party of their exhibitions. Legendary parties; Christo wrapped two nude models in cellophane one night, Warhol and his entourage arrived by limousine, there were outrageous costume parties with live bands, multiple bars, dancing and gogo dancers. Gordon was a partner in Sutton Place, the first gay bar in Minneapolis. He and his attorney, Elliot Kaplan, worked tirelessly with local licensing authorities and the city council to create higher visibility for gay rights and equality. In 1974, following a downturn in the art market, a historic snowstorm and a notably large piece of business, Gordon and George Shea departed Minneapolis for Rome, Cannes and Paris where they lived until 1994, when they returned to the US and settled into an A. Quincy Jones designed estate, which was featured in the movie "Oceans Eleven," in Palm Springs. In 1998, Mr. Locksley met Wayne Boeck and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where they were married in November 2013. Selections from the Locksley Shea Art Collection are currently on view at the Minneapolis Art Institute. Mr. Locksley's ashes will be scattered on the mountainside above Palm Springs, California. There will be no memorial service.
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Published in The New York Times on Feb. 7, 2014