Gordon Baer of Cincinnati, Ohio, died March 16, 2019. Gordon (Charles Gordon) was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on June 7, 1940, to Raymond and Blema Baer (Sandler).
Gordon was a versatile, award-winning photographer with a wide range of subjects, but when asked by a reporter what type of photography he prefers, Gordon didn’t hesitate: “portraiture.” That should come as no surprise from a man who never met a stranger and showed an insatiable curiosity and profound compassion for his fellow human beings. His photography and his life reflected his easy, natural bond with people from all backgrounds and walks of life.
He studied Fine Arts at the University of Louisville where his interest in photography grew and moved toward photojournalism. While still in college he became a stringer, freelance photographer for major publications.
Over the years, his work included stories of Vietnam veterans, the civil rights movement, a dying aunt, the strip mining of eastern Kentucky, a Kentucky chair maker, and almost every type of photo assignment. He worked as a staff photographer at the Cincinnati Post and Times Star from 1966 to 1971. During that time, his National Guard unit was activated in response to the Pueblo Crisis and he spent time in Korea and Panama. After he left the Post, he maintained a free-lance business until his retirement and also continued to provide photo essays to the local newspapers. His work has appeared in many national magazines, including Life, Time, Newsweek, Fortune and National Geographic.
In 1982, he received the prestigious University of Missouri/National Press Photographers Association/Nikon World Understanding Award for his documentary images of the post-war trauma of Vietnam veterans, later published in “Vietnam: The Battle Comes Home”.
Gordon was preceded in death by his parents, Blema and Ray, and by his brother Perry. He is survived by his wife Shirley VanAbbema, many cousins, in-laws and myriad friends.
A graveside service will be held at Anshei Sfard cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky on March 18, 2019 at 2 p.m.
A memorial will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio at a date to be determined.
Memorial donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Support and Wellness Center in Cincinnati (parkinsoncincinnati.org) or to the Kennedy Heights Arts Center (kennedyarts.org).
Anshei Sfard Cemetery A 19