Wilbert (Billi) Gordon
1954 - 2018
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September 2, 1954 - February 22, 2018 Dr. Billi Gordon - Entertainer, Model, Writer, and Neuroscientist - lived to be 63 years old. Dr. Gordon was known for his special combination of in-your-face humor and public demeanor, and for his enormous generosity of spirit and kindness that allowed him to reach a large audience in promoting his passion for social justice and personal acceptance. Dr. Gordon's physical presence was exceptionally powerful, and he mastered its use to position himself uniquely in many, if not most, of his professional endeavors. In his role as an entertainer, Dr. Gordon was cast frequently as a drag queen, a role well matched to his flamboyant sense of humor, and to his self-description as a diva. Beginning this work as a greeting card model, he later appeared in drag on the popular TV series, "Married with Children" and opposite Eddie Murphy in "Coming to America." A talented writer, he wrote sitcom episodes, and multiple humor books such as the cookbook, "You've Had Worse Things in Your Mouth." As a writer, Gordon authored the immensely popular "Obesely Speaking" column that appeared regularly in Psychology Today and his blogs were featured in the Huffington Post, and the LA Times. In this work, he touched on interpersonal issues, health, stereotyping, and prejudice, with compassion and a near boundless self-effacing humor. When he was profiled in the LA Times in 2009 ("A body larger than life") http://articles.latimes.com/2009/oct/14/local/me-gordon14, at 701 pounds (down from nearly 1000), Gordon was preparing for surgery to remove a large mass on his thigh. He quipped characteristically to the reporter, "Other than that, I have beautiful legs." Dr. Gordon always spoke about his weight with a disarming directness that acknowledged both the severe impact that it had on his health, as well as the role that it played in his public persona. Gordon was born in Dowagiac, Michigan, where he attended Union High School. He was enrolled briefly in a Roman Catholic Seminary, and his religion was an important part of life. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and continued to be an ardent and vocal Wolverine fan for life. Intelligent, and curious to understand emotions, brain, and human behavior, Gordon obtained his Ph.D. in Integrative Behavioral Neuroscience at the Union Institute and University in 2004. He later pursued a post-doc and a research career in neuroscience at UCLA where he studied emotion, the pathophysiology of race, minority health disparities, as well as a variety of work in gastroenterology and obesity - all issues that impacted him personally, and for which he felt a sense of duty to help others. Dr. Gordon leveraged his Ph.D. and scientific contributions for his success in blogging, and for his writing on health issues. Dr. Gordon was beloved of his enormous circle of friends who lavished in his personal generosity, his humor, and his intelligence. Billi was preceded in death by his parents Geneva and Wilbert Gordon, a sister, Doris (Ewells) Hollingsworth, and a brother, James (Lois) McGinnis. He leaves to honor and cherish his memory, spouse Robert Schallert whom he married in 1988, his nieces Cynthia Hollingsworth and Diane Torrence, and nephews Don (Sandra) Hollingsworth, Kenneth (Dianne) Hollingsworth, Brian Hollingsworth and James McGinnis Jr., two brothers-in-law, John Schallert ll and Patrick Schallert, a special cousin, Gwen Reeves and many nieces and nephews. A 10:00 AM memorial mass will be held at St. Augustine Church, Culver City on Saturday, March 17th.

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Published in Los Angeles Times on Mar. 10, 2018.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
MAR
17
Memorial Mass
10:00 AM
St. Augustine Church
Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
March 5, 2021
I never got to meet Billi even though we came from the same small town. His optimism was attractive to me, and his love for the Michigan Wolverines was another. I think of him quite frequently and when Michigan is doing well, I imagine I hear Billi cheering them on. I’m sure he is happy as can be at the Wolverines winning the B1G Ten Title this year! Keep up the good work, Billi. GO BLUE
Sue Servis
Friend
March 4, 2021
Hi Billi....I think about things we talked about and how you had a way of summing up the world so concisely. I hope that whatever comes after this life has truly brought you peace. Miss you.
Jeanette Lemcool
March 5, 2020
Hi Billi! I think about you all the time. I know you are busy in whatever comes next...doing whatever we do there. I learned a lot from you that I hold dear! I had surgery yesterday and thought I might meet you sooner than expected...but doing better today. Love you, Billi!
Jeanette Lemcool
March 4, 2020
Facebook just isn't the same without Billi's posts. Some funny, some serious, many curious. I miss the daily posts. I miss his beautiful smile.
Tracy Behnke Mikes
Friend
March 4, 2019
Billi, I can't believe you have been gone a year! By now you have earned your wings and have some super nice bling going on! I miss talking to you. I learned so much from you....but mostly I learned to be ok with who I am. No matter what other people think. I am a free spirit and not in the traditional sense....and because of you...I am happy to be me. My mother-in-law passed away a couple of days ago...if you see her up there, say hi to her! Love you Billi!
Jeanette Lemcool
June 10, 2018
Billi was my friend for 35 years or more. His enthusiasm for life, his love of all people and his accomplishments were impressive, also encouraging others to succeed. I loved you Billi. We will miss You!



Patricia Sweeney
Friend
June 2, 2018
I love ❤ you Billi! Or as you would always refer yourself as my big sister Kate. You are an amazing friend and our amazing friendship will never end!!!
Roger Lachowicz
Friend
March 28, 2018
Billi with his precious dog
Cynthia Burr
March 20, 2018
I miss you, Billi. Especially your candor and wit. Truly one of a kind.
Dwan Johnson
Friend
March 16, 2018
I wrote before, but I don't see it. Billi was a year ahead, we were not in any classes together. If you were there when he was, you sure knew him though. Loved to read his messages on FB. R.I.P. my DUHS brother alum. GO BLUE!
Fred Ross
March 16, 2018
This is a poem Billi recently wrote and it seems so relevant:

Any Given Garb

Although it is not a given
The garb is a gift nonetheless
In some ways like all the others
In others singular and best
Its festoons some adore, some detest
Still it is donned daily just like the rest
Over the years it becomes worn
A nick becomes a tear, a tear becomes where
The stitching is very badly torn
Requiring patching here and there
The pattern fades; the embroidery frays
But the mastery of its tailoring stays
Even when it is in total disrepair
And undistinguishable from its stains
A designer original it was, and precious it remains
And because you knew it when
You cherish it now, like you cherished it then
Because design mastery will linger on and on
Long after the labels and tailors have gone
Joan Cashel
Friend
March 16, 2018
I have old memories....of Sr. Dreadful and Sr. Eli. Oh my the things we did.... And with Gerrie and Tom. I will miss you my old friend.
Elaine Springsteen Vaughan
March 15, 2018
Billi was intelligent, generous and the funniest man I ever worked with. In fact, it was hard to get much work done around him because you were laughing so hard, but we enjoyed every minute! Rest in peace, Billi!
Steve Berman
Teacher
March 14, 2018
Dr. Gordon was an amazing spirit, always positive uplifting. I am grateful for his encouragement and insight even during his hospital stay. It was a privilege to care for him . Tamrah RN
Tamrah Back
Acquaintance
March 12, 2018
Me under the influence of Billi.
March 12, 2018
Billi at Crosier 1972. My roommate for three months.
March 12, 2018
From the moment we met, Billi's wit and kindness were immediately apparent. From the best member acceptance speech the California Yacht club ever heard, to the "You've Had Worse Things in Your Mouth" video shoot, to the vows at our marriage ceremony at Harvelle's Blues Club, Billi's soul has been a precious part of our lives. I love you, Billi. I always will. - Kitten With a Whip
Kitty OKeefe
Friend
March 11, 2018
Your bright smile and shining attitude will be missed here on earth, but your spirit is singing with the Angels. Those wings look awesome on you, Billi !
Go Blue!!
Susan Servis
March 11, 2018
I still have something he left me on my Facebook. Phone numbers to Congress people.
I used it to call Debbie Stabenow and she is easy to reach. I told him I called and he put a heart on it.
March 11, 2018
I remember Billi as the photographer in school. He was a few years ahead of me, but he was a person that you noticed, in good ways. I only remember him as smiling, always smiling. I didn't really know him, just of him in school. But once we became FB friends I was blessed to get to know him a little. Some nights when I couldn't sleep, he'd see I was online or visa versa and we'd chat. He was such an outgoing, colorful, interesting person. He always made me feel better and laugh like nobody else could. I loved his bubbly personality and am grated that I did get the chance to know him even if it was just a little bit. He was the kind of person that inspired so many people. RIP and prayers of comfort to Robert and the rest of his family and close friends from Dowagiac that were blessed to grow up with him. And his large circle of friends from all over. We're all gonna miss you....
Cynthia Salmons
March 11, 2018
In the 4 years I knew Billi I learned what a great and funny man he was. The love he had for everyone and his humor were the best of anyone I know. You are truly missed my friend. My heart and love go out to my cousins Robert, John And Patrick during this sad and hard time. We miss and love you forever Billi.
Melinda Lee
Family
March 11, 2018
Billi being older, we never were in any of the same classes, but I surely knew him at DUHS. We were Facebook friends. I give condolences to his family and loved ones. May he rest in peace.
March 10, 2018
Although I lived on the same street as Billi in Dowagiac we never met. I met him on FB and had a conversation with him. I'll miss his humor and intelligence. I'm sorry for your loss Robert and family, and hope peace comes to you soon.
Patricia Douglas-Scott
March 10, 2018
Can I get a Hail
Billi, a friend since high school was larger than life. His sense of humor, his quick wit, and his love of his home town Dowagiac, and the University of Michigan are the things I will always remember about Billi. Not to mention his many FB followers. I know that Billi fought a good fight and we will still hear him yelling when our Michigan Wolverines are playing! RIP dear Billi and GO BLUE!
TRACY BEHNKE MIKES
March 10, 2018
You're truly missed. You were a very good soldier in the war you were fighting. May you Rest In Peace. My condolences to Robert and the entire family.

Dorothy Avance
Southbend, Indiana
Dorothy Avance
March 10, 2018
Billi was an inspiration and blessing for me during all the decades of our friendship,
as Billi was for so many.

I can't adequately say how grateful I am and how much I miss Billi --

My loving sympathy to Billi's family and countless friends --
James Toy
Friend
March 10, 2018
Billi G was more than just your average Michigan Football fan. He was a mentor. I had ambitions of being in the entertainment business after leaving Michigan Football. Billi was there every step of the way. He introduced me to everyone he knew including executives, agents, and producers. He even went as far as contacting a friend from a local salon in Beverley Hills convincing them to open up late so I could get a hair cut and shave for a modeling gig the following day. He tried desperately every day to craft different ways of getting me introduced to the right people, just so he can watch a fellow Wolverine follow their dreams. This was the kind of man Billi was. Selfless, genuine and the ultimate Michigan fan. I will never forget the things he did for me and I wish I could express my gratitude one last time. I will truly miss you buddy!
Russ Furrha
Friend
March 10, 2018
Billi was a singular character to meet in one's life. I would need a few pages, or maybe none, to add to this. I will only say that I was grateful to reconnect with him on Facebook and happy that I had the opportunity to visit him a couple of years ago. Godspeed, Billi!
Stephen Huot
Friend
March 10, 2018
I am at a loss for words, My heart goes out to Billi's Family, May God wrap his arms around you and comfort you all. Billi had a Heart of Gold and would do anything for anyone, he has touched so many people in this world and was an inspiration to many, including myself. Some of the talks we had really made me realize that things really aren't that bad, and by the end of our conversation he definitely put a smile on my face and laughing. Billi I am going to miss our talks about Our Michigan Wolverines whom we both did Bleed Maize and Blue and especially our Friendship that we had. I will Cherish our Memories and keep them tucked closely in my Heart. I Love You Billi. Go Blue my Dear Friend. Diane Fortier
Diane Fortier
Friend
March 10, 2018
Loved all your beautiful post's,Go Blue Forever
Deborah Mathers
Friend
March 10, 2018
Barbara Thornton-Ward
Classmate
March 10, 2018
Dr Gordon was a man who helped millions smile I will miss his charm and humor. God has a marvelous man beside him now. Love you
Terri Duerinck
Friend
March 10, 2018
The world is poorer without you.
Gail Ann Thompson
Classmate
March 10, 2018
Although we were only Facebook friends and big Wolverine fans, I found you sincere, funny and inspiring. I felt that I was on your journey with you. I'm sorry we all couldn't help you to keep it going. The world has lost a very special person and I am sad.Condolences to Robert, Billi's other family,the Wolverine family and all that cared about him. GO BLUE MaryAnn Desentz
Maryann Desentz
March 10, 2018
Billi was a special person. Kindness and humor personified. From our talks, Billi taught me it is not only ok to me and to be different...but to be proud of who I am...he sent words of encouragement easily and often. Billi was a true friend to everyone who was a friend to him. I loved him and I will miss him. Godspeed Billi!
March 10, 2018
I will always remember you from school...You was always cracking everyone up with your funny ways...Will miss you Billi....You was a great person..Now your with my brother who you buddy around school with..R.I.H.
Jody Mcneil..Payne
March 10, 2018
This obit sums up everything that Billi was! I never met him personally but own his books, followed his blogs/fb posts/youtube videos and remembered him fondly from his tv and movie appearances. His humor and honesty helped me see that through pain, everyone can heal. I am sending love and light to all of his family (esp. his husband) and friends during this dark time. Billi is missed tremendously, but we all know that his place is in eternity <3
Beth Rosen
March 10, 2018
Bill, you will be remembered and missed.
Bill Syckle
Friend
March 10, 2018
You were a special star in the universe,Billi. RIP
Miss Marie
March 10, 2018
Billi had a heart larger than life and always made my day brighter. Nancy
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