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In Memoriam: Cosmetology Icon Jerry Gordon

by NLS Staff | November 28, 2015

The professional salon industry has lost one of its favorite sons.

Jerry Gordon, co-owner with his beloved wife Karen, of J. Gordon Designs in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, past president of Cosmetologists Chicago, past vice-president of Intercoiffure America/Canada, Ferrari race car driver, business leader and educator, and all around bon vivant, died suddenly November 26, 2015 in his home at age 78.

A hairdresser for more than six decades, Jerry continued to work behind the chair until the day before Thanksgiving. “I’ll never retire,” he often said. “I love this business and I love everyone I come in contact with every day.”

Jerry was a third generation hairdresser: his grandmother was a wigmaker, his mother a cosmetologist. His son Tony owns several salons in the Chicago suburbs, daughter Kathrine is an award-winning hairdresser for films, and his daughter Elizabeth operates a successful hardware business in Los Angeles.

Jerry was the first recipient of Aveda's Master of the Arts Award, and the Intercoiffure Order of the Chevalier Medal. American Salon Magazine named him Salon Owner of the Year.  He was a sought after speaker on salon operations, well known for developing the system of “Double Shifting” for salons.

“Jerry taught us all so very much,” commented Paul Dykstra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago. “He taught us about the beauty business and how to be successful in it. But most of all, he taught us how to live a full life and enjoy everything this industry enables us to become.”

This past year, Cosmetologists Chicago created the Jerry Gordon Salon Leadership Award, and it will be awarded each year at America's Beauty Show in Chicago.

Additional memorials and commemorations are being planned. Jerry did request that any donations in his memory be made to his favorite charity, Dogs for the Deaf, Inc. 10175 Wheeler Rd., Central Point, OR 97502.

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