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Ralph J. Gordon, 86, War Vet, Owned Children's Clothing Stores

December 9, 2010
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Ralph J. Gordon, 86, owner of the Joy Kiddie Shop chain of children's clothing and shoe stores, died Oct. 29. He was a resident of Elkins Park.

Gordon also ran Gordon Brothers in Germantown, a business his grandfather started, before he opened the children's shops.

A graduate of Temple University, he was part of the invasion of Omaha Beach on the morning of D-Day. He earned a Silver and a Bronze Star.

When Gordon got back from the war, he wrote a journal spelling out his experiences and emotions. He was featured in Life magazine as one of three of his original company who came out of D-Day alive.

His family made his journal into a book called "Infantrymen," created by his children and grandchildren, and surprised him with the book on Father's Day while the family was cruising to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy.

The book is in the D-Day museum and the First Infantry Division museum, and excerpts have been published in other books.

A guard at the Nuremberg trials, Gordon had helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp.

He was a longtime member of Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, an associate life member of Hadassah and a member of the William Portnor Lodge of B'nai B'rith. He was also active in the Soviet Jewry movement and had sponsored a family of Russian immigrants.

An avid tennis player, he was a member of Logan Tennis Club for 50 years.

Gordon is survived by his wife of 60 years, the former Ricki Perlin; sons Mark Gordon, Stuart Gordon and Kenneth Gordon; and five grandchildren.

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