Dr. Jay Gordon Honored for Excellence:
Receives Dr. Sam Mack Lifetime Achievement Award
by Joycelyne Fadojutimi
As soon as he entered his teens, Jay Gordon sensed his calling–dentistry. After graduating from Stephen F. Austin University in 1971 he moved on to the University of Texas Dental Branch in Houston and commenced four years of training. He honed his new skills as a General Practice Resident in the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston before advancing to an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center, again in Houston. By 1980 he had completed his oral surgery residency and hurried to East Texas.
Gordon grew up in Dallas, where he played baseball and football as a member of W.T. White High School’s first graduating class. Upon completion of his extensive education he settled first in Nacogdoches. After his 1977 marriage to Campbell Reese he met Dr. Sam Mack and moved to Longview and set up his own private practice.
From 1980 to 1982, he worked with Dr. Errol DeRouen and earned his board certification from the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1984 after which he commenced introducing advanced medical techniques to Longview patients. This included repair and reconstruction of upper and lower jaws without wiring the teeth together and controlling patient pain and anxiety via intravenous sedation. He worked with both Good Shepherd Medical Center and Longview Regional Medical Center. He also admitted two friends to his practice. Dr. David Haverkom joined him in 1984, and Dr. Andy Mack came on board in 1989. They formed the East Texas Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates.
Gordon spent 33 years fixing smiles before retiring in 2013. However, he kept up his healing service as a volunteer until 2017, working with the Longview Emergency Dental Organization. In 2013, he went to Ethiopia on a medical/dental trip sponsored by Buckner International. Gordon is a Diamond Sponsor of the Hinds Academy Foundation in support of the University of Texas Houston Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program.
At the recent luncheon when he received the Sam Mack Lifetime Achievement Award there were several who spoke glowingly of Gordon’s accomplishments in the field of dental health.
Reverend Mary Collier described how much she cherished her friendship with Gordon, and how vital his hospital and “home visits” were to her husband Pat Collier following his cancer diagnosis.
“Jay saw our terror and coached Pat through the ordeal,” she said. “He even sat with me in the lobby of his own office as Dr. Mack extracted his (Pat’s) teeth.”
Gordon himself remarked how this was the only time he ever sat in the lobby of his own office, while Mack said, “If I knew you were out there in the lobby, I would have had you back there helping me. He also said Gordon is “a natural helper” who “Sees the good in everyone and whose sense of humor gives comfort and ease to all around him,” and that he is “a servant leader able to love unconditionally.”
Retired orthodontist Dr. Carroll Sherman talked about how Gordon’s arrival in Longview a blessing for patients was because it allowed them to get sorely needed treatment here instead of having to travel long distances.
“Prior to that time, my partner Dr. Lynn Duren and I had been sending those specialized cases to very competent oral surgeons in Ft. Worth,” he said. “It was great for our patients to be able to stay home in Longview.”
Dr. Chris Mack praised Gordon for his lack of arrogance, and how he never let his ego in any way jeopardize his patients’ well-being but would confer with all colleagues regardless of their background.
“His training was way more formal than my dad’s training, but nevertheless he would often discuss cases and sometimes operate on patients with my dad,” he said. “The respect he showed for my dad was something our family will never forget.”
Mack also extolled Gordon’s devotion and consideration for those close to him.
“Later in my dad’s life, his health deteriorated both physically and mentally,” he said. “Jay continued to visit him and stay in contact with him, and this meant a lot to our family.”
Dr. Andy Mack also emphasized Gordon’s humanity, and how he went much further than just physically treating his patients.
“I learned a lot from Jay in multiple areas–surgery of course, and he’s a talented surgeon, but I also learned how to treat people, and that is something you cannot learn from a book or in a classroom,” he said. “The things I learned from Jay will never leave me. He’s been the most wonderful mentor, partner and friend.”
Gordon’s ministrations are not limited to the dental chair. He is an active member of First United Methodist Church, and volunteers with the visiting Care Team, Meals on Wheels and on youth mission trips. He also donates his time to Longview Ambucs, Asbury House Child Enrichment Center, Preservation Longview, Historic Longview Farmers’ Market, Family Promise, and Beds of Hope. He even finds time to serve as a life sponsor of Ducks Unlimited, and has spent almost 40 years as a volunteer for Gregg County D.U.
His love of the outdoors is another of his passions as he spends time hunting with good friends. In retirement, he and Ellen love living on the shores of Lake Cherokee and traveling, but their pride and joy are their two adult children–daughter Leah, married to Dr. Andrew Philley of Tyler, and son Reese Gordon of Houston. They now have two “brightest joys” in grandsons Luke and Jack Philley, aged five and three.
“I am sincerely honored to receive the Sam Mack Lifetime Achievement Award, and would like to thank all the dentists, orthodontists, physicians, nurses and hospital personnel who collaborated with us in caring for our patients, and even allowed us to provide oral surgery care for themselves and their families,” he said.
About Dr. Sam Mack Award:
Anyone who met Dr. Sam Mack could see right off what he was all about…God, family, friends and the Longview Chamber of Commerce. He was passionate about all of them, and his service to his city and those in it were a testament to his loving heart. Just being around him made others want to pitch in and help.
He saw to it that the city’s medical and dental caregivers were Chamber members as he signed up multitudes for this essential public service. It all started when the local, late restaurateur Johnny Cace telephoned Marion, Dr. Sam Mack’s wife and made a pitch for their Chamber membership and service. Between him and her they succeeded in getting Sam Mack to get involved with the Chamber and the results were amazing, thanks to the Dr. Sam Mack’s dedication to the affairs of the Chamber.
Consequently, the Longview Chamber has created the Sam Mack Lifetime Achievement Award to annually recognize the city’s finest medical professionals. This award is a testament to Dr. Sam Mack’s personal mission of work and service to his community and motivates others to follow his sparkling example.
Mack’s sons Chris, Andy and Ben yearly research Longview’s most dedicated, skilled health providers. These professionals have established themselves as the most talented, compassionate and caring healers and serve the city and its people in tandem. Without his example, there would have been no towering inspiration to generate such recognition.