Sol Gordon
(1923 - 2008)

Sol Gordon

June 12, 1923

December 2, 2008

In Honor of Sol Gordon, Ph.D.

- A short obituary, by Marlene Appley
- A narrative resume of Sol's career
- A list of Sol's books and awards

Dr. Sol Gordon, 85, of Chapel Hill, Professor Emeritus of Syracuse University, with a distinguished career as a clinical psychologist, educator, and recipient of many scholarly awards, as well as author of thirty books, died on Tuesday, December 2, 2008.

He was invited to lecture in every state over the course of his distinguished career, and presented internationally in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, England, Israel, Germany and Thailand.

Sol was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 12, 1923. He served in the US Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1946. Under the GI Bill of Rights he completed a Bachelors Degree and a Masters Degree from the University of Illinois in 1948.

Feeling a need to help establish a home for the victims of World War II, he left for Israel in 1949 and participated in establishing Kibbutz Sasa.

In 1953 he completed a Ph.D. degree in Psychology at the University Of London, England.

During the civil rights years, Sol and his wife Judith founded several Headstart Schools in the South.

Sol was predeceased by his wife of 37 years, Judith (Sulzberger) Gordon, in 1991. She coauthored several of his books. He is survived by a son, Joshua P. Gordon of Los Angeles, California, a sister Mrs. Ethel Schnipper of Florida and his partner, Dr. Marlene Bondy Appley of Chapel Hill. Sol and Marlene both grew up in Brooklyn and shared their interest in Israel where they both were active in building Kibbutz Sasa. In the nine years that they spent together in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, they were both contributing to the community by lecturing and teaching.

Memorials are being planned in many organizations and locations throughout the country. Any questions should be addressed to Marlene Bondy Appley at 9 Charrington Place, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sol Gordon

. . . received his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of London (1953). He served as chief psychologist at the Philadelphia Child Guidance and the Middlesex County Mental Health Clinics. Dr. Gordon taught at Yeshiva University (1965-69) and then at Syracuse University where he was Professor of Child and Family Studies and Founding Director of the Institute for Family Research and Education (1970-1985) and Chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy (1970-1976).

Gordon has written over one hundred articles for professional publications and authored 30 books, including a controversial series of comic books on sex education written for teens who resisted reading. A widely respected figure in sex education, he started the popular undergraduate course in human sexuality at Syracuse University, attracting up to 400 students a semester. The course grew into the Summer Institute for the Study of Human Sexuality.

With a distinguished career as a clinical psychologist and sex educator, Dr. Gordon is the recipient of many scholarly awards. Upon his retirement from Syracuse University, Dr. Gordon was a fellow of the APA, and a member of the National Council of Family Relations and American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists. He has lectured in every state in the United States as well as internationally in Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, England, Israel, Germany, Thailand and other countries.

Recent Books

Another Chance for Love: Finding a Partner Later in Life (Adams Media Corporation) 2004

A Friend in Need: Helping a friend when times are tough (Prometheus Books) 2000

Falling In Love Again (Bob Adams) 2000

Raising a Child Responsibly in a Sexually Permissive World, with Judith Gordon (Fireside) Paperback, Revised 2000 (Bob Adams)

How Can I Tell if I’m Really In Love? (Bob Adams) 1997

When Living Hurts (Union of American Hebrew Congregations) Paperback, 1997

Why Love is Not Enough (Bob Adams) Paperback, Revised 1990

Psychology for You (Sadlier) 1983
Life is Uncertain . . . Eat Desert First, with H. Brecher (Delacorte) 1990

The Teenage Survival Book (N.Y. Times/Random House) Revised 1989

Personal Issues in Human Sexuality with C. Snyder (Allyn and Bacon) 1989

Seduction Lines Heard Round the World (Prometheus Books) 1987

One Miracle at a Time, Dickman and Gordon (Simon and Schuster) 1986

Parenting: A Guide for Young People, with Mina Wollin (Oxford/Sadlier) Revised 1985

Living Fully: A Guide for Young People with a Handicap (John Day) 1975

Childrens Books

Did the Sun Shine Before You Were Born? With Judith Gordon (for ages 3-6)

Girls are Girls and Boys are Boys – So What’s the Difference? (for ages 6-9)

A Better Safe than Sorry Book, with Judith Gordon (for ages 5-9)

All Families are Different (for Ages 8-12)
Facts about Sex for Today’s Youth (for ages 9-14)
(All Published by Prometheus Books)


How Can I Tell if I’m Really In Love? (Paramount Pictures Corp.)

Strong Kids, Safe Kids (Paramount Pictures Corp.)
Sex: A Topic for Conversation, Parent Sex Education Videos (3) (Mondell Productions)

Selected Awards

Public Service Award given by The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (2005)

The Pennsylvania Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (2004)

Spirit of Service Award from the National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention (2003)

For Making a World of Difference in Sexuality Education, A Lifetime Achievement Award given by Advocates, Planned Parenthood, AASECT, and
SIECUS (2002)

Sol is most proud of:

His comic books, 10 Heavy Facts about Sex. He explained they attracted a lot of attention because it was banned (considered pornographic). They appeared in newspapers all over the country; sold over a million copies at Syracuse. (See letter by Peter Scales in the "letters" section of this website!)

Creating the idea of "Are you an askable parent?" He explained parents need to respond to any question. Ignorance is harmful, knowledge is never harmful.

Founding the idea of October being National Family Sexuality Education Month.

Sol strongly advocated for:

Parents to educate their children.

Teenagers to be well informed. (He commented, for example, that teens need to know that oral sex is sex!)

Focusing on at-risk youth.

Guest Book Wall (What is this?)

Hover your mouse over the wall images to see each guest book entry.

Guest Book (36 entries)
Too soon my friend
Justin Cheagle (Lover)
June 6th, 2015
Sol enjoyed life, and he enjoyed life with other young men. He did what he wanted and in that he never hurt anyone. Granted he had a wife and still played with very young men. It takes courage to do what he did but I don't judge him.
Patricio Trujillo (friend)
February 24th, 2015
A very special friend...that was his best, to be a very special friend. Beyond that Sol was a teacher to me and above all a special and kind person. I made him lough and he was greatful for that. He put things in a very simple and honest way and I was very greatful for it.
I let him down, I disappointed him but I thought there is enough time to resolve it. But there was not. Maybe this was his last lesson he gave me.
I never had a chance to say goodbye
I miss him
No full stop
Michael Sessler (Friend)
January 27th, 2015
I met Sol when he was at Syracuse in the late 1960's and the foundation I worked for help fund his famous comic books about sex and drugs.
This began a friendship which lasted til he died.
He served on the board of a non profit I founded and encouraged that organization to conduct a study tour in Vietnam to study a new method of permanent female contraception which has huge potential to assist women worldwide. He made a personal gift to the expenses of that effort.

His wife Judith and my wife were good friends as we traveled as couples in Europe for several weeks in the late 1970's. They both developed cancer and were treated at Stanford Medical but both did not make it. Sol and I grieved together.
His great empathy for the variations in human perception about sexual matters impressed me. His wonderful books made the case for being open and understanding about sexual matters.
Some of what people have written about Sol disturb me and I have no notion of their equity.
All I can say is that he was a terrific friend to me and I to him. May he rest in peace.
Don Collins (colleague and friend)
August 19th, 2014
Hi Jesse (Samuels) --

Please call or email me. I'd very much like to talk with you about your post. Thanks very much --

Garth - 415 505 7034
Garth Gilchrist (Friend)
August 19th, 2014
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"Sol was a very friendly teacher and a very dear friend from whom I learnt a lot. I will reserve the memories - TAK Vur AL"
Michael Sessler
January 28th, 2015
"Sol was a childhood neighbor of my father. When I met Sol as an adult he spoke kind words about my father. He made me feel proud."
Edith Jaffe
August 10th, 2014
"Sol spoke to my husband's Singles Living class at Grant H.S. in Van Nuys about masturbation. They are still talking about it. Joe thought so much of Sol and his achievements. Joe passed in May of 2008 and I like to think they are kibbitzing even now"
Fran Feinstein
September 17th, 2013
"Sol taught me something that I have never forgotten. "If you are fighting the good fight and you need a statistic, make one up. That's what they are always doing on the other side!""
Malcolm Smith
May 17th, 2010
"Sol lit up a room. He energy, his enthusiasm, his charism lives on."
Jane Gilgun
January 19th, 2010
"Sol and I met 1967, had a 40 yr association. Sol served until his death as a key board member of which, following a 1994 trip to Vietnam which Sol instigated, has worked on a major new method of permanent female contraception QS."
Donald Collins
December 24th, 2009
"Sol was a light that shone erased the darness of ignorance and prejudice that surrounds the subject of sexuality."
Dave Hingsburger
February 15th, 2009
"Sol was such a special person who touched all the lives around him. He always had a way to make those with whom he interacted feel that they, not himself, was the important person. I have lost a friend, colleague and mentor and miss him dearly."
Jay Yanoff
December 24th, 2008
"Sol was a very dear friend and colleague of my Father, Larry Hopp (who passed away in 2001). Sol was a brilliant, unpretentious, caring person. It was an honor to have known him and his wife, Judy. Memories of both of them will stay with me always."
Susan Hopp
December 23rd, 2008
"Sol was a pioneer, a mentor, a sexuality educator, a youth advocate before that concept was common, and an amazing, beautiful, dynamic, fascinating, passionate soul. We are blessed to have known him. I will never forget him and what he taught me."
Mary Jo Podgurski
December 18th, 2008


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