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Gordon, Lenore Janet

Lenore Janet Gordon passed away at her home on Feb. 19, 2017. She was 89 years old. She passed with peace and grace with her adoring family by her side. She was born Aug. 17, 1927, in New York City to Edwin J. Eisner and Elsa Hall Eisner. She is survived by her three daughters Cathi Gordon Graham, Susan Gail Gordon (Steve Bouchard) and Terri Ellen Gordon and her son-in-law Michael Graham. And of course her beloved grandchildren Nicole Elana Graham, Maxwell Gordon Graham and Hannah Rose Gordon.


Her adored grandson Gabriel Louis Bouchard and her husbands Louis Harvey Ferkin and Ralph Kokjier predeceased her.

A truly unique and remarkable woman, she moved to Kansas City where she went to elementary through high school, married and was a suburban mom to her three little girls. While living in Kansas City she met and made so many dear and cherished lifelong friends She visited often and loved Kansas City as her beloved hometown. She was the Brownie leader, Sunday school teacher and her role as a mother was her very favorite. She was our family matriarch and as her daughters married and created their families she took such pride and joy in their lives and accomplishments.

An early feminist, she was a trailblazer when she went to UMKC in her early 30s, earning a BA and several advanced degrees. She then taught speech at Paseo High School, the very high school that she attended. In 1969 she created a Black Arts Troup whose performances were widely applauded. A natural born leader and teacher, she was a reading and curriculum specialist developing many new educational programs.

 When her daughters went to college and became adults, she moved to Key Biscayne, Florida. While walking on the beach she met her “Louis Precious” — Louis Ferkin. They married and traveled the world, played tennis, enjoyed a fantastic social life and were blissfully happy together.

Lenore went back to school again and earned a doctorate from the University of Miami. In this new career, she became an adjunct professor, consultant and writer. She also became a writer-director and produced documentaries on a variety of subjects including the arts, the plight of Miami’s homeless and the legacy of African Americans in Dade County. She cherished her many happy days with her Florida family — the Grahams — and was the world’s best Grammy to her Miami grandchildren Nicole and Maxwell.

Upon her husband’s untimely death Lenore moved to Marin County California to start a new phase of her life and be with her California daughters and their families. As a Californian, Lenore was active in Rotary, Toastmasters and enjoyed hiking and kayaking. She was the belle of the ball and had an exciting social life. She continued her world travels. She so enjoyed her life with her Marin family — the Gordons and the Bouchards. She was the greatest Grammy to Hannah Rose and Gabriel Louis.

She next joined the vibrant senior community of Villa Marin where she made so many friends and she met and married Ralph Kokjier. They traveled the world and enjoyed Villa Marin’s many and varied events and activities. An active member of her community she continued her leadership in Rotary and Toastmasters. She served on the boards of Dominican University and College of Marin and became a competitive bridge player.

A lifelong writer, she published three books and at 83 realized her dream of being an author. A prolific poetess, her poetry was featured in several literary magazines.  

She loved to travel and Paris was her favorite destination. She was an avid reader and lover of learning and books, the theatre, the arts and the movies. She had a special passion for jazz from an early age and had a song written about her —“Eronel” — and Thelonius Monk performs it on the album “Criss-Cross.” 

She was adored by all who had the pleasure of her company and she changed the lives of all who crossed her path with her beauty and her love of life. She made each and every day of her life an adventure. We learned the greatest lesson of all in her personal mantra:

Life is not a dress rehearsal

You only go around once 

Private services were held. Condolences can be sent to Cathi Graham, 11 Island Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139 and Terri Ellen Gordon, P.O. 2522, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

In lieu of flowers, make donations to the charity of your choice.