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Gordon Louis St. Angelo

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Gordon Louis St. Angelo Obituary

Gordon Louis St. Angelo

Passed away on October 18, 2011 with his family by his side. Gordon was born on June 20, 1927 to George and Lillian (Salat) St. Angelo in Huntingburg, Indiana. After serving in the Navy at the end of World War II, he attended North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. There he was active in student politics and became the communications liaison for the Paul Douglas for Senate campaign.

It was at North Central that Gordon met his future wife Beatrice Mae Larson from Watertown, South Dakota. Following their marriage in 1952, they returned to Huntingburg where Gordon entered the retail clothing business with his father.

Gordon became active in Democratic Party politics in 1954. By 1958 he was elected Dubois County Chairman. An early key supporter of then Senator John F. Kennedy, he became 8th District Chairman in 1960.

After managing the campaign of Governor Roger D. Branigan in 1964, Gordon was elected state Democratic Party Chairman, a position he held until 1974. His tenure was longer than that of any party chairman in Indiana.

Gordon's political reach extended beyond the state. He was Deputy Democratic Party National Chairman from June to November, 1968, when he helped manage the Hubert Humphrey presidential campaign. In 1973, he ran for national Democratic Party chairman, being narrowly defeated by Lawrence O'Brien.

In 1974 Gordon left politics to become Senior Program Officer of community development at the Lilly Endowment, where he loved working for twenty three years. There he was instrumental in expanding the role of non-profits in public policy, with many positive civil- and individual-rights implications. His building of coalitions between non-profit think tanks was instrumental in the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In 1997 Gordon retired from the Lilly Endowment to help establish the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, where he was President Emeritus until his death. Gordon was a long time trusted friend of the Friedmans. He had personal contact with Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Bush I and II.

Gordon and Beatty were active members of Second Presbyterian Church. There Gordon served as both Deacon and Elder, and chaired the search committee that brought Dr. William Enright to Indianapolis in 1981.

Gordon also chaired the boards of the Indianapolis Star's Jefferson Awards and Indianapolis Civic Theatre, and was board member and Vice President of the Indianapolis Airport Authority (1983-1999). He owned ITAN Travel Services and was a limited partner in Indianapolis Cablevision.

Gordon also served on the boards of the University of Indianapolis (1965-1993), St. Meinrad College, WFYI, the United Way, the Welfare Service League, the State Employment Commission, the Indiana Division of the National Civil Rights Commission, and the Indianapolis 500 Festival Committee.

Starting with his work at the Lilly Endowment, Gordon and Beatty took special interest in historic New Harmony, Indiana which they visited often. He was appointed by Governor Evan Bayh to the New Harmony Commission and served on the board of the Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation until his death (Chairman, 1995-2006).

Gordon received honorary doctorates from the University of Indianapolis and the University of Southern Indiana. He received "Sagamore of the Wabash" awards for his service to Indiana from Governors Welsh, Branigan, Whitcomb, Bowen, Orr, Bayh and Daniels.

Gordon was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 54 years Beatty in 2007. He is survived by his brothers George and Doug; his sons Paul, Kurt and John; his daughter-in-law Mary Ellen; his grandchildren Andrew, Corinne, Anna, Elijah and Lilly; and his loyal friend Ann Greenfield.

Donations in Gordon's memory may be made to The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, One American Square, Suite 2420, Indianapolis, IN 46282 or to the Second Presbyterian Church at 7700 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46260.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday November 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the Second Presbyterian Church, 7700 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, followed by visitation. Online condolences may be done by visiting:

http://www.flannerbuchanan.com

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on Oct. 30, 2011
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