Louis Edward Gordon Special Collection

Louis Edward Gordon Special Collection

Louis Edward Gordon Special Collection

Louis Edward “Slim” Gordon was born Lewis Elwood Avaritt on March 4, 1901 in Collin County, Texas. In 1919, Mr. Gordon joined the Army Air Corps as a flier. His love for motors led to his career as a flight mechanic and pilot. Mr. Gordon was transferred to the 20th Bombing Squadron at Kelley Field, San Antonio, Texas for motor school. He then worked on two tri-motored Caproni planes and one Handley Page plane. Gordon became chief mechanic at the proving grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland and later transferred to the bombing squadron at Mitchell Field where he was involved in the International Air Races. During the War he also was foreman of servicing operations in Natal, Brazil which at the time served as the jumping off point for flights to Africa. After seven years in the service, he was honorably discharged from the Army Air Services in May, 1926, with the rank of Staff Sergeant.

On June 2, 1941 Mr. Gordon legally changed his name from Lewis Elwood Avaritt to Louis Edward Gordon. He then went to work for TWA Transcontinental as a Senior Mechanic-Maintenance. He remained with that company until 1964 moving up to Aircraft Inspector at Mid Continental International Airport.

Gordon then went work as a mechanic at the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Air Service who was operating Fokker tri-motored aircraft. After being laid off in 1926 he went to work as a mechanic for R. J. Reynolds Airways Inc. from May, 1927 to April, 1928 on Ford Trimotors. Mr. Gordon left this job to participate with Amelia Earhart and pilot Wilmer “Bill” Stultz as flight mechanic on a transatlantic flight. The plane named “Friendship” a Fokker FVIIb/3M was built in Holland in 1928 for then Lieutenant Commander Richard E. Byrd for contemplated use in his Antarctic exploration. The flight left from Trepassey Harbor, Newfoundland on June 17, 1928. It landed at Burry Port Wales, United Kingdom 20 hours and 40 minutes later. Mr. Gordon contracted through Mechanical Science Corporation for $5,000.00 for his services on the flight. Upon returning to the United States, Miss. Earhart and the crew were given a ticker tape parade in New York and a reception with Calvin Coolidge at The White House. Telegrams of congratulations were received from many well- wishers including a telegram from the American Legion.

After various jobs, Mr. Gordon would go on to reach 20 years employment with TWA on June 13, 1961. Louis Edward Gordon passed away January 11, 1964 in Parkville, Missouri and was survived by his widow Mrs. M. Roberts Gordon.

For more about this collection, see our Descriptive Finding Guide.


See images from the collection on Flickr.


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