|Gordon Ivan Herzog
September 13, 1934 - January 29, 2013
Other Sheep Board Member Emeretis
Gordon I. Herzog
September 13, 1934
January 29, 2013
On this page
Left Column, below
Main / Middle Column,
Tom Hanks' Tribute:
"Gordon and our Stainless
Far Right Column
Peg Atkins' tribute:
"Bigger than life"
Main / Middle Column,
Susan Herzog Fazio's
tribute to her father,
delivered at his
Main / Middle Column,
Steve Parelli's Tribute:
"There would be no
|This web page was created in the Bronx, NY, on March 11,
2013, and on subsequent days through March 14, 2013,
published initially on March 11, 2013
|"I have other sheep that are not of this
fold. I must bring them in also."
"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also."
John 10:16 NRSV
A tribute to my father, Gordon Herzog
by Susan Herzog Fazio
delivered February 2, 2013
at the memorial service of Gordon Herzog,
St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Ferguson (St. Louis), Missouri
Gordon Herzog, Other
Sheep board member
1992 - 2013
Gordon I. Herzog, a founding
director of Other Sheep,
served as a board member with
Other Sheep from its inception
in 1992 until his passing,
January 29, 2013.
Christ Church Cathedral
St. Louis, MO
Where Gordon's reamins
Photo by Steve Parelli
|Above photo: The St. Louis Christ Church
Cathedral Chapel adjacent to the nave,
Photo by Steve Parelli
Above photo: One of the
many stained class windows
of the Christ Church
Cathedral, St. Louis, Missouri
Gordon I. Herzog (1934-2013) and our Stainless Steel Rainbow
The summer Gordon and I were born (1934) in St. Louis, MO, also happened to be the summer
Adolph Hitler launched the Nazi persecution of homosexuals with the execution of Ernst Röhm (his
leading paramilitary leader) and companions. Since Röhm was executed on July 1, my birthday,
decades later when I read about it, I felt a bit tempted to believe in reincarnation! However, on my
first reading my immediate reaction was that the article had to be “gay propaganda” (we closeted
gays all had layers of steel of internalized homophobia in those days). How could we have seen
hundreds of articles about Nazi persecution of Jews, culminating in the Holocaust, and never even
heard of the imprisonment of homosexuals in the concentration camps? Eventually, when I read
Jacques Ellul’s classic on Propaganda, I learned that “majority propaganda” (such as heterosexist)
is always much more powerful and dangerous than that of oppressed minorities.
Living a dozen blocks apart in suburban St. Louis, Gordon and I got acquainted and gradually
became friends during our grade school years (1940-45). We also both attended the
neighborhood Presbyterian Church where a zealous fundamentalist Sunday School teacher kept us
and our parents in turmoil (our parents were supposed to end up in Hell since they served drinks to
guests before dinner). She did, however, manage to motivate us to read the Bible—a task that was
made much easier when in 1946 the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament was
published. But, of course, that also was the Bible which first introduced “homosexuals” as a
translation in two Pauline texts that for centuries had been mainly interpreted as condemning
masturbation. The revisionist translation “homosexuals” soon became immensely popular in
traditional circles, since Biblical scholars had begun to emphasize that the Bible’s 48 references to
Sodom only referred specifically to an attempted gang rape of angels (Gen 19)—and that left little
Biblical basis for condemning homosexuals. New ammunition was desperately needed to keep
young homosexuals like Gordon and me closeted and controlled. So in our religious context the
popularity of new Bible translations with the revisionist “homosexuals” mistranslation continued
apace—even after the RSV Old Testament was published (1952), creating a scandal by
substituting “young woman” for “virgin” in what was supposed to be a messianic prophecy (Isaiah 7:
In our high school years Gordon and I conformed to the pattern of having a girl friend with whom we
became part of a group that met weekly to play canasta, then bridge. One friend in our group, who
had something of a high school reputation for being a “pansy” loved to entertain us by singing
“Over the Rainbow,” which we applauded enthusiastically. A few years later I could better
understand why when I saw a wedding picture showing eight of us, seven of whom we had come to
realize were homosexual (most of us married women in vain attempts to try to cure ourselves).
During our high school years (1946-52) the St. Louis Post Dispatch shocked everyone by
splashing on the front page a story about the Kinsey Report (1948) with its indication that 37% of
American males had had homosexual experiences. I drew considerable comfort from this statistic
before my parents hid the paper—and wondered what the Apostle Paul would have said about
Kinsey, but nobody openly talked about it at school, much less at our Sunday School. The year
before our graduation my father Stanley arranged for his painting company to send Gordon and
me to work all summer on one of his jobs in Fairbanks, Alaska. We shared a room for two all
summer and didn’t try to date girls but never managed to guess that the other was gay (internalized
homophobia was a very strict and adept school master). In those years Missouri still had its anti-
sodomy law (upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986), which years later prompted me, in a St.
Louis gay meeting opposing such laws, to propose that we didn’t really need to eliminate them—
just get courts to interpret it literally, so that any angels visiting Missouri would be protected from
gang rape. Gordon, who had become Episcopalian, didn’t think my legal proposal was very realistic
and the law remained in force until the Court reversed itself and declared all such laws
Only after my “coming out” letter hit the Presbyterian fan in 1989 did Gordon tell me, to my great
surprise, that he also was gay. Even before my letter made public my situation, I was discovered by
John Doner, founder of the MCC in Mexico City. In our work with MCC, increasingly we became
convinced of the need for a new multicultural, international, ecumenical organization that would not
only encourage establishment of new MCCs but also work for the transformation of traditional
denominations (my own Presbytery in St. Louis had been amazingly supportive and not defrocked
me). Europe and the USA had countless denominational and national organizations working with
sexual minorities, but in Latin America, Africa and Asia almost no one sought to challenge
homophobia in traditional religions. At one international meeting I asked every leader present what
their major problem was and each replied “religion” (using various specific terms). But when I
asked what they were doing about the problem, the answer was “Nothing, because I’m not
Even before coming out, with Gordon’s encouragement, I began writing up a storm on Biblical texts
related to sexual minorities, while John Doner, as MCC lay church planter, had long been
developing and organizing contacts in Latin America. But we realized that any new organization
working in such a controversial area would need a great lawyer to make and keep us legal. So we
were overjoyed to find that Gordon shared our enthusiasm for the founding of Other Sheep, which
became legally incorporated in St. Louis in 1992. In those first years, from Gordon’s downtown
office window we enjoyed a clear view of the famous St. Louis steel arch, which my father’s
company had painted (interior work) for his last major job. In the 1990’s with the worldwide
explosion of the AIDS epidemic and Jerry Falwell’s sermons contaminating airwaves and TV, we
desperately needed a rainbow of hope—but it had to be of stainless steel to survive. Without
Gordon, Other Sheep could not have come into existence, and without his wise and determined
efforts we would not have grown.
Shortly after I moved from Costa Rica to Argentina in 1986, Argentina’s Supreme Court consulted
the university libraries and professors and concluded that homosexuality was a curable disease
and (!) a sin condemned by the Bible and churches,—and thus denied the right of the only gay
organization even to have its own office. However, by 2010 Argentina’s leaders had become
educated about sexual minorities and human rights and thus made it the first country in Latin
America to legalize gay marriage—which has left me wondering whether the time has come for me
to become a missionary from Argentina to California!
My friendship of 70+ years with Gordon, begun in grade school, had matured through
unprecedented historical transformations and in an amazing variety of stages, illustrating that (as
lesbian theologian Mary Hunt affirmed), for Jesus-followers, friendship is more basic to civilization
than the “family values” of majority propaganda.
“The Gateway Arch” [constructed 1963-65]
We knew the calculations were correct
Both ours and Mr. Saarinen’s;
The arch would stand
If we could get it up.
But what strong winds might blow
While each leg cantilevered out
Far past the jacking truss to hold
A hundred tons of crane and scaffolding?
We waited final sections from the shop
And prayed for quiet days,
And now the arch is joined!
James Eads was never happier
When ice-packed chords slipped neatly into place
(We used hydraulic jacks instead of ice).
We hope midwinter afternoons he sees
The arch’s shadow slowly rake his bridge.
Stanley Hanks, in Watering Places, with an introduction
by Howard Nemerov.
New York: Foolscap/Horizon Press, 1981
Editor's note: Stanley Hanks is the father of Tom Hanks
Good Morning. I am Susan Fazio, the daughter of Gordon Herzog. I am happy to tell you that my
dad made this day really easy for his family in one particular way. My dad left us a funeral file.
Yes, I’m talking about a legal size file folder devoted solely to the planning of his own funeral. A file
he first made me aware of more than twenty years ago, several inches thick, and filled with his
favorite prayers, readings, and hymns. Maybe it was the lawyer in him and all the years of drafting
Wills and doing estate planning for clients. Maybe it was the ultimate act of control. Whatever the
motivation, it made this day easier for us and for that I would like to thank him.
My dad . . .Where do I even begin in speaking about my dad . . . As I struggled to find the words to
describe my dad I came to the realization that a word he sometimes used to describe others he
knew could actually be used to describe him. A character. Yes, he himself was quite a character
indeed. Many adjectives also come to mind to describe my dad as well . . . smart, interesting, loyal,
generous, and honest to name but a few. Loud, boisterous, and highly opinionated to name a few
more. But the one thing I’ll remember most about my dad and the way he lived his life is that it was
a life filled with integrity. He was true to himself and those around him – sometimes to a fault. Yet
he never waivered. Whether in business dealings as a lawyer, or in everyday matters with family
and friends, you could always count on him to be honest and fair. As a result of this I believe it is
safe to say that most who knew him had a great deal of respect for him, whether or not they
agreed with him.
My dad did all he could to help family and friends. We could always count on him. As a young
child I have many wonderful memories of times spent with my dad. After my parents separated in
1976 I was worried about how my relationship with my dad would change since he would no longer
be living with us. I needn’t have worried, because every Sunday soon became Dad’s day. Sunday
after Sunday, year after year, my dad would come and pick up my siblings and I for a day of fun.
Sometimes he planned outings for us such as ice skating, symphony concerts, and plays.
Sometimes he helped us turn everyday tasks such as doing laundry or cooking into family fun.
When I was a teenager we spent all our summer Dad’s days on the Missouri River aboard our
cabin cruiser, Misty and waterskiing from a small ski boat he and his friend Chuck Kilo had
purchased together in college. Our Dad’s days were a wonderful part of our life with our dad, and
we always had fun and never grew tired of our time together. I would venture to say that Sundays
still hold a special place in the hearts of myself and my siblings. They are the Lord’s Day first, but
Dad’s day is a close second.
My dad was a gifted lawyer with a wonderful career. When he decided to transition into semi-
retirement in 2002 he built himself an office in the barn at his home. He continued to work from his
home office but at a steadily declining rate during the next ten years. In his later years, my dad
loved entertaining at Jade Bluff, and especially loved the many gatherings there with family and
friends on holidays and special occasions. He also enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow from
cute little ones to responsible young people. He relished their every accomplishment and enjoyed
their presence immensely. Some of his other favorite things in retirement included: sleeping in as
late as he wished every single day, rising each morning to the beautiful view of the Missouri River,
visiting with family and friends in person and on the telephone (especially his regular visits from his
cousin Richard, and afternoon coffee with his neighbor Normann), sending most of his legal work
to his law partner Alex Kanter, having Gina come to take care of his house, watching tennis and
other favorite shows on TV while seated in his wonderful electric chair that to quote him “did
everything for him just short of spinning him around in circles like an amusement park ride,” his St.
Stephen’s family, pecan braids and oatmeal cookies from St. Louis Bread Company, and last, but
certainly not least, wearing shorts and a t-shirt 365 days a year.
All who knew my dad well also knew that he was not always easy to get along with. He and I spent
much of the last year engaged in a power struggle to determine which one of us really knew what
was best for him. With genetics clearly not on my side, I was pretty determined that I knew exactly
what was best for him which included a part-time in home caregiver, physical therapy, healthier
eating and weight loss. His vision looked quite different with lots of rest and leisure, pecan braids
and oatmeal cookies for breakfast, and a home in which he would take care of himself. I can now
see that the “best” for him was likely somewhere in between our two very different visions.
Ultimately, I will declare myself the loser, since you probably also know that my dad rarely lost in
power struggles. His favorite phrase to tout at me became “Susan, you are not the boss of me.” It
became quite evident that he was correct. Through it all we laughed and joked about it, although
we both knew the other was wrong. In the end I think we came through it all with a mutual respect
and deeper understanding of each other. It helped a lot that we both knew that I was motivated by
my love for him and a hope to improve his quality of life.
My dad’s sometimes gruff exterior frightened or intimidated those around him at times– even me on
occasion. But, you really didn’t have to look too far to see that on the inside he was filled with
kindness and love. A very dear friend of my dad’s once told me many years ago “you know he
may act all mean and tough on the outside, but on the inside he has a heart of gold.” Yes, I said, I
know. I’ll always remember that moment and how glad I was that his friend knew that too. I have
no doubt that now, years later, most of you here today know this about my dad too. So, dad – the
secret’s out. We all know and are all glad that over the years you have learned to share with us
your inside heart of gold.
I would like to close by thanking each and every one of you for all you meant to my dad during his
life. He was so fortunate to be surrounded by so many people who cared so much about him.
Thank you for sharing in his life and thank you for celebrating his life with us today.
We were sitting at a restaurant table, Rev. Thomas Hank and I.
I can't remember if we were still in St. Louis after the Other Sheep 2012 November annual
business meeting, or if we were in Chicago a week or so later, attending the American Academy
of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference.
Either way, it was what Tom said that struck me: "There would be no Other Sheep without
Other Sheep was the vision of Tom Hanks, American missionary in Argentina. But it took a
Gordon Herzog, lawyer and boyhood friend to Tom Hanks, to make the dream a reality.
In 1992, just more than twenty years ago, Other Sheep was born in Argentina. Gordon had come
out as a gay man years before Tom. When missionary Tom came out in Argentina in the late
1980s, he wrote a letter back home to his constituency. When Other Sheep was on the drawing
board, it was just natural that Gordon, his longtime friend and lawyer, should be asked to write up
the legal papers, sit on the board, and help promote Other Sheep at home in the USA. And
Gordon did just that, for no less a reason than this: Tom was his friend.
Jose, my husband and Other Sheep Coordinator, and I came on board Other Sheep in 2005, and
we've never had anyone, anywhere, love us more than Gordon, and in return we loved him, too. It
couldn't be helped!
Every year, during the annual business meeting, we stayed in his grand home on the Missouri
River, took trips with his car, worked at Other Sheep business in his "barn" - his lawyer's office -
or at his desk and computer in his room. We spent evenings with him eating out, or visiting with
him and his neighbor, or watching TV. We attended his church, met and had good times with his
family, and watered his dogs. Gordon's home was our second home in so many ways. Jose and I
relished our visits with Gordon. November's Other Sheep annual meeting was like going home, a
reunion and trip we always were glad to make. We laughed together with Gordon, let him talk
politics, borrowed his videos - returning them only to borrow more, raided his refrigerator, and
kept a secret we promised to keep. We felt playful and giddy at Gordon's home, as if we could do
Jose and I will miss him dearly. St. Louis is a special place to us because Gordon was there! And,
oh yes, because St. Louis is the place where Gordon, and others who are also dear friends of
Tom and Gordon, all made Other Sheep happen here in the United States with a focus on helping
LGBT people of faith throughout the world.
Other Sheep, in its 20 years of history, has reached out and touched people in Latin America,
Asia, Africa and Europe. Gordon shares greatly in that legacy. His life, through his work with
Other Sheep, touches gay Christian people today around the world. One gay Christian man in
Argentina, asking another gay Christian man in St. Louis to help, together and with the help of
others, have ministered to gay and straight people in all parts of the world, affirming them and
loving them, through Other Sheep.
Jose and I will miss you Gordon! And on behalf of all the people we've had the opportunity to
meet, they join me in saying "Thank you for your love and service with Other Sheep."
|"There would be no Other Sheep without Gordon."
A tribute to Gordon I. Herzog
who served as a board member with Other Sheep
from its inception in 1992 until his
passing, January 29, 2013.
By Rev. Stephen Parelli
Other Sheep Executive Director
January 29, 2013, Bronx, New York
Photo by Steve Parelli
Taken November 12, 2012, two days after our last board meeting with
Gordon in his home, and having just left Gordon's home to return to NY
via meetings in Chicago. Taken from Amtrak, from Illinois, looking west.
Photo by Steve Parelli, November 12, 2012
Photo by Steve Parelli, November 12, 2012
Go to the article on
Gordon in LGBT
Network - CLICK HERE
Other Sheep St. Louis Office:
Home and law offices of Gordon I. Herzog
Missouri River behind the home and law
offices of Gordon I. Herzog, where Other
Sheep St. Louis Office resides
Above photo: Tom Hanks, left,
with Gordon Herzog. Last time
together, November 10, 2012,
St. Louis, MO
Above Photo: Peg Atkins, long
time friend and fellow-board
member. November 10, 2012, at
Gordon's home, annual Other
Sheep board meeting.
Peg Atkins' tribute to Gordon:
“’Bigger than life’ is the only way
to describe Gordon and his
contributions to many of us and
to the world of justice. He
organized and directed Other
Sheep and numerous other non-
profit organizations ‘lawfully’ and
skillfully. Coming to know and
love Gordon, and serving under
his leadership on the Board of
Other Sheep from its inception
are counted as major, major
blessings in my husband’s and
“Gordon was punctilious in
covering the details of Other
Sheep governing and financial
operations, in getting reports to
authorities and thanks to
contributors, and always with
respect and support for fellow
justice-minded co-workers. At the
same time he could so
successfully ad lib hosting
wonderful picnics and weekend
hospitality for out-of-town
associates. His love of justice,
along with the hospitable sharing
of his large family, his home and
his kitchen created an Other
Sheep family of the most diverse
members imaginable. Gordon
nurtured all of us, and he did the
ground-work and drove the
explosion of Other Sheep into a
worldwide ministry. He left behind
a huge group of family, friends
and clients who feel blessed to
have known the support and love
of one of God’s most spirit-led,
hard-working, selfless kind.”
Gordon I. Herzog
Gordon was born to Jesse T.
Herzog and Ethel B.
(Dillingham) Herzog in St. Louis,
Missouri on September 13th,
1934. His family resided first in
Normandy and later in
He graduated from Ferguson
High School in 1952 and
received both an A.B. degree
(1955) and a J.D. degree
(1958) from Washington
University. He also received the
American Jurisprudence Award
in Constitutional Law.
He married Judith Krieger in
1961 and had four children:
Jeffrey, Susan, John and
Laura. The family resided in
Gordon began practicing law in
Lackland Bloom’s firm. He later
became Senior Partner of his
own firm and continued to
practice in downtown St. Louis
until his semi-retirement in
2002, when he and law partner
Alex Kanter moved their offices
to Clayton and Florissant.
Gordon practiced law from his
Florissant office until his death.
His companion of many years,
Steven Chua, M.D.
predeceased him in 2004.
Gordon was very involved in
service to his community
including serving as President,
Chairman or Director of:
Council of Intercity Ministries,
Grace Hill Council, Grace Hill
Settlement House, Murphy Blair,
St. Louis Council of the
Episcopal Church Foundation,
Episcopal City Mission, and St.
Louis Airport Interfaith
He was a Founding Director of
Grace Hill Neighborhood
Services, Charles Kilo Diabetes
and Vascular Research
Foundation, Missourians for
Freedom and Justice, Water
Tower North, and Other
He also served as Senior
Warden of the Vestry of St.
Stephen’s Episcopal Church
and on the Chapter at Christ
Church Cathedral, was an
Honorary Life Member of the
Board of Grace Hill Settlement
House, and a member of the
Advisory Council of Episcopal
City Mission. He received The
Bishop’s Award at the 133rd
Diocesan Convention in 1973
being cited by Bishop Cadigan
as “The Complete Anglican.”
He is remembered as a gifted
lawyer and businessman,
devoted father and grandfather,
faithful friend and relative, and
champion of the poor and
Editor's note: The above bio
appeared on the back of the bulliten
of Gordon's memorial service,
February 2, 2013
Photo by Steve Parelli
The day after Gordon's Memorial Service:
A view of the Missouri River, the stretch of
river where Gordon's home is located, easily
identifiable by the double bridge at the left,
the bend of the river at the right, and the
two relatively narrow water ways that snake
and cut in and out of the land mass.
(After taking this photo, I did a Google
Satellite overlook to confirm the sighting I
had made from the plane.)
Above remarks by Steve Parelli
Photo by Steve Parelli