Sol Gordon
(1923 - 2008)

Profile:
Sol Gordon

Birth:
June 12, 1923

Passing:
December 2, 2008


Guest Book
This guest book has many loving tributes to Sol. There are also some folks pretty angry at him. The entries occur from most recent first to earliest last. Reading through gives a fuller picture of a complex, brilliant, wonderful and sometimes contradictory character.
Garth Gilchrist (Memorial Website Administ)
February 11th, 2016
Sol was introduced to me by a mutual friend at a drop-in Teen Center in 1972 when I was 18 and in high school. We talked about my interest in the field of psychology. He invited me to one of his educational presentations at a local college, where he showed a graphic homoerotic film, and then to his Institute for Family Research and Education on Ostrom Ave. on the S.U. campus, where we talked at length. Sol offered to mentor me through to a PhD in Clinical Psychology if I would assist in the daily functioning of EdU Press, his publication entity housed in the Institute, next to his office. He knew that my parents did not support this vein of study.

After working at EdU Press for a year and a half, I stayed late one night to pack comics into boxes for an urgent mail-out. He invited me into his office and pulled the curtains shut on his glass-paneled doors, asking me if I wanted to take part in a "research study" that entailed being hypnotized. That is all that he explained of the study, and he urged me to simply trust him. I was immediately suspicious, but did not want to jeopardize all that I had invested, right at that moment, so I played out his intentions and pretended to be hypnotized.

Sol put his hands on my legs, and slowly moved them towards my crotch, while suggesting that we take a bath together. At that, I got up and fled the office.

He never contacted me. My emotional world was destabilized, making the next 2 years of college very difficult. I dropped out for a year, but returned and pursued my goals in clinical psychology.

In 1977, while waiting with my date for a movie to come on at Goldstein Auditorium on the S.U. campus, I told this story. Not knowing that my voice had carried, a young man behind me came forward and told us that Gordon had done the same thing to him. Unfortunately, I did not get his name.

Jesse Samuels
Jesse Samuels (Former Mentee)
February 9th, 2016
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
Time passes and I'm still missing him
Ami Shachar (Close friends and collegu)
March 31st, 2013
A fifty year old named partner of my law firm is transitioning to a woman. The revelation was a surprise to all and many "do not quite understand". Thanks to Dr. Gordon the transition make perfect sense. There are few instructors from nearly forty years ago who I still recall. Few with such respect. Sol, you will be missed.
Kenn Wolin (Student (1974))
September 20th, 2012
I do not doubt much good that was done by Sol, but I too was one of those groomed, taken advantage of by way of Sol's "fun hypnosis and progressed to mutual, naked genital exploration" as described by N.O. This was presented by Sol as a healing act for me. It was nothing near that...it was only for him and his own sick gratification.
Eric M (former mentee)
July 17th, 2012
I was saddened to hear of Sols passing. I had met him and worked with him a around 2000. He helped me run a workshop and his fee was nominal. I last heard from him June 2006 when he sent me a postcard from Israel. His humor and wit was refreshing and I continue to use many of his "pearls" with the inmates I work with. I pray that if he has found peace... Rose
Rose Tarquinio
January 2nd, 2012
To slander, DR Sol Gordon, as the ANONYMOUS, N. O., does, illustrates the risks of even THE VERY BEST, the most UNSELFISH in public life.
Risks, Especially in the field of psychology, as your UNNAMED critic does.
Sol came to my rescue FOR NOTHING, when I was an abused product of the "Foster Care System" run by the JEWISH FEDERATION OF PHILA; a system run much along the lines of abuse illustrated by the life of OLIVER TWIST.
Like most scams this exploitive FOSTER CARE system, existed more to attract HIGH CONTRIBUTIONS, than to help the children who are STILL abused in the name of CHARITY.
Have you heard the recent, and costly, advertisements run soliciting funds to "HELP THESE CHILDREN FIND A NICE HOME IN MOZAMBIQUE."
When was the last time someone visited MOZAMBIQUE, to see these "Loving Homes."?
The scams continue to thise day unnoticed by the Government. BUT SOL GORDON NOTICED... AND CAME TO OUR AID.... FREE!
Sol Gordon was UNIQUE in UNSELFISHLY helping children (and adults) untie the bonds which crippled them in both Childhood and Adulthood in a Perilous Exploitive World.
JERRY BORIS (FRIEND AND PATIENT )
November 12th, 2011
When Sol was in London studying under Anna Freud, I was living in Brooklyn, My neighbor Pearl Tannenbaum, was Sol's cousin. She spoke of him a great deal. She was so proud of his accomplishments. She had no idea that I was determined to meet him. I listened and learned to admire him even before I met him. I convinced my partents to allow me, a 16 year old boy to go to Israel. I arranged to make a stop-over in London. In 1950 I emigrated to Israel. Before leaving the US I started a correspondance with him. I stopped off in London and brought the following items to Sol that he requested:
Cans of Spam (there was no meat to be had in London at that time).
LP Records (77's had just been invented)
Beethoven's 9th, Mahler's 9th, Ravel's Bolero, Mozarts Jupiter Symphony.
Sol met me as I disembarked from my ship (The Queen Elizabeth). He proceeded to take me to Stratford, to Rye, we toured London, Oxford, Cambridge. He introduced the young man that I was to theater, museums, art, ballet, classical music.
Sol was living in the home of his friend Michael Harari's parents in London. A magnificent Georgian house in a smart residential neighborhood. Somehow he found time to be my mentor and my friend for the month that I spent in the UK. He strongly influenced my life. He spoke to me in a manner that guided me and opened my eyes to a world that was so much bigger than anything I had ever experience before. After leaving England
I lost contact with Sol.
One day when I was serving in the Israeli Army, I heard a man with a distincitve New Zealand accent standing and talking to a friend in a mess-line behind me. I turned around and noticed that he had one blue and one brown eye. I asked him if he was a friend of Sol Gordon. He was taken aback and said that he was indeed Sol's friend. I remembered Sol talking about a friend from New Zealand who was living in Israel. From him, I learned that Sol had married Judith and was living in Haifa where he worked in a clinic and Judith worked in a psychiatric hospital. I went to the clinic where he was working and waited till he came out to receive a patient. He was amazed to see me sitting there in my army uniform. After work we went to his home and I met Judith. I fell in love with her immediately. I could see that hey were obviously much more than husband and wife, they were best friends. The conversation around the dinner table was rapid and engaging and seemed to me to be extraordinary.
I saw them on and off for a while and then they returned to the USA.
I lost contact with him.
Years later I was working as a community organizer for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto. I learned that the association was bringing in a scholar-in-residence named Sol Gorden. Solly would be speaknig to a large audience in a local Temple. I attended and at the end of his lecture I walked through the receiving line and surprised him once again when I shook his hand saying "Hi Solly".
After that we maintained a steady, on-going relatinship. I visited Judith and Sol in New Brunswick N.J. Sol would visit me whenever he gave a guest lecture in a place where I lived. So we met in Toronto, in Montreal and in Vancouver and in Miami.
When I moved to Florida we had many more opportunities to meet. I also went to Ann Arbor to visit him. He tried to hypnotize me. I resisted and he gave up on me in despair. Each time that we met he would always leave me with a pearl of wisdom. I remember when I was very young he said "there are no abnormal thoughts, but there are abnormal actions". With these words he liberated me from feelings of guilt about things, I as a healthy young man, was thinking. Mostly these thoughts were of a sexual nature but I was so ashamed of myself for not being able to purge these thoughts...till Solly freed me in an instant.
I modeled my life after Sol Gordon. I lost contact with him about five years ago. I was curious to see what he was doing (the idea that he might die one day never crossed my mind)..I was shocked to read his obituary. I will miss him forever and I will cherish his memory always. Yes, like many great men, he had a multi faceted personality. He could be humorous, he could me erudite, he could be a lecher, he could be a best friend and a mentor. He was the most important person in my life. He has a special place in my heart forever.
Paul (Saul) Azaroff (Friend)
August 28th, 2011
I am very sad to learn of the passing of Sol Gordon. I am sad to learn that someone refers to Sol as having a dark side. There was nothing dark about Sol (which means Sun in spanish) who was pure light and enlightenment. I met Sol at Wichita State University where he gave a talk in 1982 or so. Sol introduced me to Owen V. Dodson who lived in New York. Sol and Owen were friends in the Navy. I ended up moving to New York to be a care giver to Owen after his sister Edith Dodson passed.

I loved and adored Sol, he was a loving and caring man and I know how much he loved Judith, a holocost survivor. Sol was gentle and tender and would never hurt anyone. I am glad to have known his private side and to have been an intimate friend. At age nineteen I wanted what he offered. Sol will always be in my thoughts and prayers. He was a mensh (sp?) and surely he is glad to be with Judith. God bless you and Judith and your son Sol. Patricio. Trujillo, Albuquerque.
patricio trujillo (friend, student, love)
January 29th, 2011
Paul Wilce and I had the same experience with Sol. "It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times." Sol profoundly altered the course of my life introducing me to theater, art, and music in 1966 New York City. As an 18 year old college freshman, I was running groups and co-writing with him, an exalted honor for a young man with no credentials at the time. I attended conferences with him and learned all I could from his vast knowledge of psychology and the creative arts. I am a practicing psychologist today which I owe partially to his tutelage as well as the opportunities he afforded me. I also have published five books including one on sexual abuse.

But, Sol had another side which was darker. He groomed me for a sexual experience that I just processed with a good friend today after 44 years. I am raw with feelings of betrayal and deep sadness. After I indicated to Sol that I did not want to repeat the experience, he dropped me as his mentee and barely spoke to me afterwards, even though I called him twice thereafter.

Sol danced with God and also with the demons. He left me with a bittersweet memory. Love did not fully enter his heart!
Neil Weiner (Mentee)
March 29th, 2010
I just learned that Sol died. He was my adviser at Syracuse University in the early 1980s. I was also his research assistant and his teaching assistant for that giant course on human sexuality that he originated and taught for years. He had charisma and humor and compassion. He educated a lot of people about human sexuality and contributed a great deal to countless relationships and marriages.

I went to Syracuse University in order to study with him. Syracuse was a great experience for me and Sol was an integral part of that experience.
Jane Gilgun (advisee)
January 19th, 2010
I graduated from Syracuse University in 1979. Sol Gordon was famous on campus. As a newspaper journalism student at the S.I. Newhouse School, I had the honor of meeting him when he attended one of my classes as a guest speaker. He said something that day that I will never forget: "You cannot be an educated person in the world today without reading The New York Times." Even with all of the choices we have today for receiving information, I still believe that is true.
David Clayton (Student)
January 14th, 2010
Sorry to learn of Sol's passing. Sol encouraged me to get my PhD in Psychology, which I have finally got around to do. Also encouraged me to publish my poetry, which I have yet to do. He did have his flaws as we all do, but his contribution to children and education around relationships and human sexuality is substantive.
Dwight Ballard (mentee)
September 6th, 2009
I first read Sol's books while in college, introduced to them in my human Sexuality class.

Many years later, we became friends when we spoke at the same conference. Sol told great stories and introduced me to the notion of "Mitzvah Therapy," that is, healing oneself when helping others.

An iconoclast and life-long learner, Sol will be missed for his irreverence, his reverence, his belief in people and life and his kindness and humor.
Bill O'Hanlon (friend and colleague)
August 8th, 2009
My feelings about Sol Gordon are genuinely very mixed. We met when I was a lonely teenager in London in the second half of the 70s. We met by accident one evening at a theater on Shaftesbury Avenue. He met several times and he came back to London on another trip basically to spend it with me. In retrospect I see him as someone who was a manipulator and who took advantage of a teenager struggling with his sexuality, while I can also see him as something of a mentor who introduced me to "Steppenwolf" and a number of his other favorite authors such as Owen Dodson. At the the time (the 70s) he was not enjoying a good relationship with his son, Joshua, which I think pained him greatly. Was I the son he wanted Joshua to be? But what father seeks to be sexual with his son? Boundaries were not Sol's strong point.

He was candid about his life and its disappointments. Rarely mentioned was an early failed marriage. He also had a failed relationship with a (male) art historian, a Canadian if I remember rightly, who was in some ways one of the great loves of his life.

I think his visiting of London was in a way an attempt to revisit (recapture) a happier, earlier part of his life.

To a teenager he was certainly a generous man although in retrospect I have had to re-examine his behavior and motives. He introduced me to some interesting people. I remember a couple who lived in Victoria, or nearby, where either one of them, or the parent of one of them, had been responsible for translating "Doctor Zhivago." He loved theater. I remember on one of his trips he told me to go out and arrange four nights of theater - which I took great pleasure in doing - throwing in something very mainstream - John Mills in "Separate Tables" which was on at the Apollo Theatre, if I remember rightly - as well as something rather avant garde, The Lindsay Kemp Company, in their show "Flowers" at The Roundhouse Theatre in Chalk Farm. My memory of that time is so perfect I can even remember the restaurant that we went to on the night of "Flowers" and what we ate - duck a la orange cooked in a sauce that used marmalade!

Sol was like many (all?) of us was a flawed person. He had the capacity for enormous generosity, but at least with me allowed his demons to come to the fore. I think, as he acknowledged publicly, he had been conflicted about his sexuality most of his life. He was also very funny - especially when lecturing, which he regarded as performing.
Paul Wilce
August 6th, 2009
This editoal will appear in the last issue of the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health in 2009 (2009;21(4), website:http://www.freundpublishing.com/JOURNALS/medicine_and_medical_sciences.htm)


EDITORIAL

In memory of Sol Gordon (1923-2008)

This issue is dedicated to the memory of Sol Gordon, professor emeritus of Syracuse University with a distinguished career as a clinical psychologist, sex educator and advocate was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 12, 1923 and died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on December 2, 2008 (see memorial website from where I have taken some of the information for this editorial http://www.ilasting.com/solgordon.php). He was a good friend of Emanuel Chigier, the founder of the International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health and Sol has served on the editorial board of this journal from its beginning in 1985 until his death in 2008. He served in the United States Army Air Forces from 1942 to 1946 during WW II and as a result rewarded under the GI Bill of Rights education and completed a BA and MSc from the University of Illinois in 1948. His PhD in psychology was from the University of London in 1953 and he served as chief psychologist at the Philadelphia Child Guidance and the Middlesex County Mental Health Clinics. He taught at the Yeshiva University (1965-69) and Syracuse University, where he became professor of child and family studies, the founding director of the Institute for Family Research and Education (1970 to 1985) and the chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy (1970-1976).
With his retirement from Syracuse University he was active as a fellow of the American Psychological Association 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 countries like Australia, Japan, Sweden, Denmark, England, Israel, Germany and Thailand.
Sol Gordon has written more than one hundred articles for professional publications and authored more than 30 books, including a controversial series of comic books on sex education (10 heavy facts about sex) written for teenagers, which attracted a lot of attention, because it was banned as it was considered pornographic. They appeared in newspapers all over the country and were sold in over a million copies at Syracuse. He was a respected figure in sex education and started the popular undergraduate course in human sexuality at Syracuse University, which attracting up to 400 students a semester and this course grew into the Summer Institute for the Study of Human Sexuality. On the memorial website mentioned above you can see a list of his many books and awards that he received.
As a Jew he was affected by what happended to the Jewish people during the Holocaust and in 1949 he left for Israel and participated in establishing Kibbutz Sasa in the north on the border with Lebanon. During the civil rights years in the United States he and his wife Judith (Sulzberger) Gordon founded several Headstart Schools in the South. Sol was predeceased by his wife of 37 years, Judith in 1991, who coauthored several of his books. He is survived by a son, Joshua P Gordon of Los Angeles in California, a sister Mrs Ethel Schnipper of Florida and his partner in his later years, Dr Marlene Bondy Appley of Chapel Hill. He actually a few years ago send me a letter, where he told me that he and Marlene had both grown 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.
He visited Israel many times and in recent years I met him a few times when he came here and he always brought some of his books that he gave me and afterwards I would get letters with newspaper clippings or copies of small articles of interest. I tried to communicate with him via email, but it did not really work and had to do with the occational letters, in fact I have here in from of me his last letter from 2007 with a small article on “Why at risk youth do not pay attention to what we (so-called) educaters have to say” and he lists five critical things that parents need to know:

• Parents are the main sex educators of their own children, whether they like it or not
• Parents, if they want to be “askable” they must be prepared for any question that involves their child’s sexuality and the best first response is “that it is a good question”
• Parents must convey to their children that nothing that ever happens to the child will be made worse by talking about it to the parent. The best first response should be: “I am so glad that your are able to talk to me about this”
• Children are not perfect, just as parents are not perfect. Young people make mistakes and it is up to the parents to turn kid’s mistakes into opportunities for learning and growth
• Failure is an event – it is never a person. Children who are loved grow into adults who like themselves and others. They do not exploit others and are unlikely to let themselves be exploited.

Let me conclude by telling the story or maybe even you can call it the life story of Sol Gordon, which in fact is the life story of many Jews in the world of education and academics: “Growing up as an idealistic youth, I was determined to save the world and even ¬the more I tried, the world became worse and worse. Then I decided I had taken on too much. I thought I would just try to save the United States. The more I tried -- conditions in the US got worse and worse. So again I thought I had taken on too much. So I decided I would just try to save my neighborhood. My neighbors told me to mind my own business. But just as I was about to give up in despair, I read in the Talmud (Jewish teachings) that if you can save one life, it is as though you have saved the world. That is now my mission -- one person at a time (1).

Professor Joav Merrick, MD, MMedSci, DMSc
Ministry of Social Affairs, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel and Kentucky Children’s Hospital, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States. E-Mail: jmerrick@zahav.net.il

REFERENCES
1. Gordon S. When living hurts. New York: UAHC Press, 1994.
Joav Merrick (Friend)
August 4th, 2009
While working in the field of Teen Pregnancy Prevention, I met Sol in 1993,in Washington DC. I was so impressed that I followed him to his next workshop in Baltimore, just to hear him speak again. He crossed my mind as I was packing and found a book he signed to me. Wow, I send my sympathy to his family, beit 7 months later. He was profound in my professional development and the pleasure to meet him was all mine. God Bless Sol!
Deborah Davis (Fan)
July 17th, 2009
A good guy. He tried.
Roger Conant (friend)
July 2nd, 2009
I don't remember when I first met Sol, but our friendship renewed when I wrote him a sympathy note when his beloved Judith died in 1991.When I wrote my book DEPRESSION:WHAT FAMILIES SHOULD KNOW, I asked if he would write a blurb for it. He kindly did so. Years later, when he came to the Tampa Bay area, he looked me up and we talked about collaborating on a book. We did just that, on ANOTHER CHANCE FOR LOVE: FINDING A PARTNER LATER IN LIFE, published in 2004. From time to time, he'd send me a review or some other clipping he thought I would enjoy. Such energy. I will miss him.
Elaine Shimberg (friend & co-author)
June 9th, 2009
I met Sol many years ago when the agency I worked for brought him in to do a lecture on sexuality and people with intellectual disabilities. I was just beginning a career in writing and lecturing myself at the time and when I saw him speak I was captivated by his presence, his style and how both managed to highlight the information he had to convey. A year or so later, he and I were speaking at the same conference. He was doing the 'wrap up' keynote so was in the audience when I spoke. When it was all over, I congratulated him on his keynote and asked, nervously, what he thought of mine. He paused and then asked if I wanted flattery or feedback, I told him that I kinda wanted both. He then spent nearly an hour with me taking apart my message and my style, suggesting new ways to think about what I was doing in a lecture and redefining what my goals would be. This would turn out to be, perhaps, the most important lesson I ever got. I made the changes he suggested and saw my career reach new heights. I saw Sol a few times more in my life, once he took us to the Glide Church in San Francisco and we spent a wonderful couple of hours with him. After he lost his wife, we lost touch but I always remembered him, honoured him and creditted him for the time he gave me. He was a great man and his work will reverberate through time.
dave Hingsburger (there is no word)
February 15th, 2009
On this Sabbath day, I thank you for the privilege to honor Sol Gordon for the amazing graciousness of spirit and the pioneering fearlessness with which he contributed to psychology and to humans everywhere. He opened the doors to creating the field of human sexuality as an honorable field of study and of deep importance for the well being of people everywhere. I still have autographed copies of his comic books: " Ten heavy facts about sex" and "Juice use" and I will treasure these creative comic strip books he designed to reach teenagers so effectively as well as I treasure his books for children including " Did the sun shine when you were born?"

One particular incident that reveals his sense of humor and his courage comes from years ago when Sol was invited to speak in the midwest. Apparently, John Birch society members ringed his motel with signs threatening and vilifying. Sol told me later on that reporters came and asked him how he felt about this, since he was to speak the next night at a local high school. Cheerfully Sol replied," Wondeful! This will get into the local news and then more people will come out to hear my talk!" Such was the grace, courage, sense of humor and dedication to his work that Sol brought to the field of Human Sexuality and his strong sense of our need as adults for responsibility to become "askable parents" with children.

Another deeply spiritual aspect of Sol was his insistence that we all practice " Mitsvah therapy" - carrying out kind deeds. If we feel angry, sad, disgruntled with life, we should reach out to help others in need, and by doing "mitsvahs" for others we will be cheered and this can heal our souls. How profound and beautiful - and it works too!
May his memory be for a blessing!
Alice Honig (colleauge at Syracuse Uni)
January 3rd, 2009
It was more than 20 years ago, in Israel at a professional conference,
when I sat next to a wonderfully kind woman, who I later discovered
was Judith Gordon. I cried as Sol Gordon spoke. He was electric and
smart. Judith gave me kleenex and comforted me. When Dr. Gordon
finished his wonderful speech, there was a break...probably bagels,
sweets and coffee, and then...it was my turn. Dr. Gordon sat next to
this very special woman, who I later found out was his wife. When I
was finished presenting, both Sol and Judith invited me to join them
for lunch. It was, from that moment, a never ending and completely
loving connection. The years that followed were filled with wonderful
sharing of family celebrations and professional challenges. It was
always special and precious. Judith and Sol moved to California and
my husband Michael and our kids joyfully adopted "Aunt Judith" and
"Uncle Sol". We traveled together, shared many meals, cherished
conversations that lasted long into the night...and also courageously
faced "the stuff of life". Judith's death was a loss beyond words.
Sol was an incredible part of our family and a great supporter, til
his last days, of my personal and professional hopes, dreams, and
"leaps of faith". I will miss Sol deeply and he will live, lively and
brilliantly, in the hearts and minds of all our family members. Sol
and Judith both were a major part of my/our lives. My life is
enormously "richer" because of the "circle of friends" who were
brought into our lives because of Sol and Judith and the spectacular
events we all shared. I think Sol knew how much we all loved him. I
am so sad that his life ended as it did. It feels too strange to
realize Sol is gone. It is a great loss, but. forever, I will be
deeply thankful for what he was and what he lives on to be, forever in
our hearts , and that...on a day many years ago, Sol walked into my
life and filled it with great joy and wisdom. How lucky we all were/
are to have had his compassion, intelligence and joy intwined in our
lives. Peace to you, one and all, as you gather together to remember
our friend, our inspiration, Sol Gordon.
Phyllis Kaplan (Friend)
January 2nd, 2009
As I sit here in my office looking across at my bookcases, my eye is drawn to the shelf that is filled with books written by Dr. Sol Gordon. I can’t help but think of the many ways in which he has impacted my life as a parent, as a sex educator and as a friend. “Did the Sun Shine the Day You Were Born?” was one of the first books I read to my children to start their formal sex education. My copy of “You Would If You Loved Me and Other Lines” is dog eared and stained and pages are taped together. It was 1978 and few people were talking about adolescent sexuality much less writing about it, especially to teens. In the mid 80’s, trying to figure out what I wanted to do career wise….his gift of “ Life is Uncertain…Eat Dessert First” gave me the courage to begin my journey in establishing state organizations on teen pregnancy prevention. There are now over 20 and the list is growing thanks to the work we do here at Advocates for Youth. In 1994, he published “When Living Hurts” and sent me a copy with a simple note “you will survive” on the first page when I was going through some very painful losses in my life.
So it seems he has been there when I needed him and I will miss that booming voice, that incredible presence when he stood before an audience, the confident stance that making sure young people have the knowledge and the skills to grow up sexually healthy is right…it is the moral thing to do and being a sex educator is a beautiful profession. There was no one who could talk about sex with such humor and capture an audience with one liners like ”men CAN have multiple orgasms, one during the act and one when they tell their friends about it.”
Dr. Sol Gordon died on Tuesday December 2nd in Chapel Hill, NC. He was the same age as my mother, 85, so the sadness I feel in some ways may be preparing me for losing her as well. He was given the gift of two wonderful partners in his life. After he lost his first wife Judith to cancer, he found Marlene and two were living proof that love can happen more than once in a lifetime. And he wrote a book about it, “Another Chance at Love”.
Up until virtually the end he was writing me notes and asking about possible speaking venues. I would get bulging envelopes in the mail with clippings and ideas for new books and random thoughts about the state of sex education in America. He didn’t care about protestors when he came to a town or school…he would invite them in and ask them to sit on the first row. Anytime he could be in a room with young people, he was already in heaven.
Though he received many awards in this lifetime…the ultimate reward was a simple Jewish principle…”doing good deeds for others” or mitzvah was all he cared about. Throughout his writings are poems and spiritual messages that indicate his deep faith and spirituality. In 2002, Advocates for Youth, SIECUS, Planned Parenthood and ASSECT honored Dr. Sol with a lifetime achievement award, “For Making a World of Difference in Sex Education.” He was surrounded by many who were taught by him, mentored by him, and inspired by his writings and voice. It was a small token for a man who had become the “the father of sex education in America.”
He invented the concept of “askable parents” and while he was a professor at Syracuse University, created National Family Sexuality Education Month, called Let’s Talk Month today, encouraging communities and agencies to help parents talk to their children about sexuality.
I can still see him standing in front of thousands at a conference in Washington in 1983 and in that gravely voice with arms as long as most people’s legs stretched out across the stage, challenging the audience of sex educators and child advocates to “get out there and change the world. You don’t need an army, all you need is twelve….and you know who changed the history of the world with just twelve.” There will never be another Sol Gordon.
Barbara Huberman, December 8, 2008


Barbara Huberman (Student, Friend, Colleagu)
December 19th, 2008
I remember the first time I heard Dr. Gordon speak. It was maybe 30 years ago. I was pretty new to the reproductive health/sexuality field, and what I remember is laughing until I had tears in my eyes, and wanting to hold onto everything he said. I saw him just a year or so ago – maybe at an AASECT meeting? – and got up the nerve to approach him, to say hello, to mention the name of a mutual colleague whom I thought he would remember. He greeted me so warmly, in a way that was so genuine, and the sparkle of curiosity that Garth describes was such a part of his presence. In a way that I think he would deem most important, we have not lost him: he gave himself, his wisdom, humor and insight, to all of us involved in this work, and to all of those we touch. Oh how lucky we are!
Joan Garrity (admirer)
December 18th, 2008
Sol's Rules


l. Never judge a day by the weather.
2. The best things in life aren’t things.
3. Tell the truth -- there’s less to remember
4. Speak softly and wear a loud shirt.
5. Loosen up. The unaimed arrow never misses.
6. He who dies with the most toys, still dies.
7. Age is relative. When you’re over the hill,
you pick up speed.
8. There are two ways to get rich -- you can make
more money, or you can require less.
9. What you look like doesn’t matter -- beauty
is internal.
10. No rain -- no rainbows.
Sol Gordon (Me)
December 18th, 2008
Welcome. This online memorial was created for Sol's friends, colleagues, associates, students and family, as a place where all of us can contribute what we carry of Sol and would like to share. Please offer your stories, short memories, thoughts, quotes, photos, any spark of Sol's bright presence.
Garth Gilchrist (Friend)
December 18th, 2008
From Contemporary Sexuality
(Journal of AASECT, Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists) August, 2008 issue

Member Spotlight
Sol Gordon, PhD

Sol Gordon believes that sex education books are read by librarians, not teens. So as director of Syracuse University’s Family Research and Education in the 1970s, Gordon sought funding to publish comic books aimed at young readers. Some of the comic books focused on eating, smoking and alcohol, but the most popular featured
drawings and straightforward writing about sex. Among the titles: Ten Heavy Facts About Sex, Protect Yourself From Becoming an Unwanted Parent and VD Claptrap, which featured characters named Capt. Veedee-o and Ms.
Wanda Lust.

Ten Heavy Facts About Sex, published in 1971, was the most popular, selling 625,000 copies by 1974. Its frank talk about masturbation, the pill, pornography, abortion and virginity prompted the New York State Fair to ban it.
Gordon appealed the decision, but the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court upheld the decision, saying Ten Heavy Facts About Sex “suggests that sodomy is acceptable and it surely condones and encourages homosexuality and bisexuality, if one is so inclined, while conceding that the majority of the people favor
homosexuality.” Says Gordon, “I attract the most attention by upsetting people.”

Gordon was born in 1923 to Yiddish-speaking poor immigrants in Brooklyn, N.Y. He served in the U.S. Army from during World War II. He received his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, and his PhD in psychology from the University of London. Gordon then served as chief psychologist at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Clinic and the Middlesex County Mental Health Clinic. This was followed by an associate professorship at Yeshiva University in New York. There, Gordon focused on promoting self-esteem and sex education as crucial elements for enhancing the lives of “at risk” youth. In 1970, he was appointed professor at Syracuse University and director for Family Research and Education.

Gordon has written about 30 books and more than 100 articles. He donated the collection to the Kinsey Institute and Syracuse University libraries. (http://archives.syr.edu/archives/collections/faculty/gordon.html) “Some of my books have been banned all over the country and excluded from public libraries,” Gordon says. “I did not mind being picketed by the ‘Right to Life’ people when I spoke, but the real problem is that I am no longer invited to speak at any high school because of the ‘abstinence’ mandate prevailing in almost every public school. As soon as I say something about masturbation, it’s over. I have an important message for young people, but nobody is letting me tell it.”

Gordon has received numerous awards for his work. He was most proud when he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by AASECT, Advocates for Youth, SIECUS and Planned Parenthood, in 2001, “for making a
world of difference in sexuality education.” In 2005, SSSS awarded Gordon with the Public Service Award.
After his wife, Judith, of 40 years, died, Gordon re-acquainted with a high school friend, Marlene Appley. The two have been together ever since. Gordon’s most recent book, Another Chance for Love: Finding a Partner Later in Life, was published in 2004.

“My most valuable contribution to the field of sexuality education is having created the concept ‘Are You an Askable Parent?’” Gordon says. “If a child asks a question about sex, the only appropriate response for a parent is — ‘that is a good question,’ and then proceed to answer it. Parents are the main sex educators of their children,
whether they like it or not. If they want to be ‘askable,’ they must be prepared for any question or incident that involves their children’s sexuality. Parents must convey to their children that nothing that ever happens to them will be made worse by talking about it to the parents, and the best first response is — ‘I’m so glad you are able to talk to me about this.’”

(To see 18 images from Ten Heavy Facts
About Sex, check out this Flickr page:
http://flickr.com/photos/55159906@N00/sets/
72157594551093068/)
Contemporary Sexuality (Journal of AASECT)
December 17th, 2008
Peggy Brick, Sexuality Education Consultant

I, like many others, mourn the death of our inspiration and mentor, Sol Gordon.

In 1970 Sol Gordon taught with me at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey. Our assignment: to create together a full-year course in psychology for high school students. What a year: together we taught 7 classes, 5 days a week, 5 in psychology, 2 in sociology.

The final week we gathered all these students in the auditorium for "sex week" featuring Sol answering students anonymous questions in his inimitable way.

During the next 15 years, I developed this event into a 10 week unit "Human Sexual Behavior." In contrast to most high school sex ed that focused on the dangers of sex and the prevention of STDs and pregnancy, this was a multi-disciplinary course utilizing insights from anthropology, psychology, sociology, history and applied all to students' thinking about their own values and lives.

We utilized the book Sol developed from his time with us: Psychology for YOU.

This comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach has informed all my future work developing popular curricula at Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey and utilized by sexuality educators nationwide.

Sol stayed-in-touch: sending a copy of each of his books, sending articles in support of Israel, bringing a silk scarf from a visit to Israel.

Sol is the reason I've been a sexuality educator for the past 38 years!

He lived a full and important life, I appreciate and celebrate that life!
Peggy Brick (Colleague)
December 17th, 2008
Mary Jo Podgurski

One memorable year not too many years ago, Sol traveled to our little town to speak to professionals and to students. His humor, his warmth, and his unique, amazing style made his message relevant to teens in three school districts - even to conservative teens in our most challenging district.

In that district one of the students raised a hand and asked if Sol thought that homosexuality was a sin. In his great wisdom, Sol answered: "Have you been taught that loving someone and being true to yourself is wrong?"

We just lost someone who can never be replaced. How blessed we are to have his wisdom remain with us. I won't ever forget him.
Mary Jo Podgurski (Colleague)
December 17th, 2008
Dr. Roger Libby

I am sorry to hear about Sol Gordon. I worked with him for two years at Syracuse University, and we did a book together, Sexuality Today and Tomorrow (1976), which is still cited today.

Sol was an amazing man with a lot of imagination and out-of-the-box thinking. He helped countless teenagers with his comic books, and he assisted many parents as well. His sense of humor was well known, and I very much enjoyed working with him. Sol went out of his way to extend his assistance, and he will be sorely missed. He was often controversial because he told the truth, rather than sugar-coating everything.

Sol Gordon was a pioneer in our field. He traveled and lived in many places, including Israel, San Francisco and Syracuse, New York. He had many friends, and his spirit will live on with all of us.
Roger Libby (Colleague)
December 17th, 2008
Peter C. Scales, Ph.D.

I was a student and friend of Sol's, since 1971. I was his graduate assistant and took my Ph.D. under him at Syracuse (1976) and served as Research Coordinator and later as Research Director of the Institute for Family Research and Education that he founded at SU.
I'm not sure it was initially obvious to us graduate students working for him that his comic book, Ten Heavy Facts About Sex, published in 1971, was a far more important publication than most scholarly works in the field of sexuality education. But it was. It was the first attempt to speak honestly and directly to youth about sex in an irreverent, humorous format--serious information given with a heaping helping of R Crumb-style cartoons and laughs. It drove anti-sex education crusaders nuts, made them call him a "pervert" and a "pornographer," and, truthfully, it made even not just a few sex education advocates uncomfortable with it's boundary-pushing style, but young people loved it. We didn't work out in gyms much in those days, but we didn't have to, after spending the better part of a day schlepping box after box of "Ten Heavies" upstairs from the storage basement of the Institute, the first step in their journey to thousands of schools, health departments, family planning clinics, churches (yes, even churches), and youth centers around the country, and soon, around the world.

That and others of his publications caused for most of us grad assistants our first personal exposure to censorship and the politics of sex education. When Ten Heavy Facts was banned at the New York State Fair, Sol used it as a bully pulpit and both his fame and his sales shot up even more. It wasn't just about sex education after that, but about his passion in defense of democratic freedoms themselves, a passion that found its more general expression in the years when the Moral Majority was powerful, and Sol led the field in yoking sexuality education and the First Amendment he saw under assault. He called for Dec. 15 to be named National Bill of Rights Day, so that the day it was signed would be an occasion for the study and celebration of those foundational freedoms.

For all the anti-family charges that were thrown at him over the years, for supposedly usurping parents' rights, it was he who initiated a national campaign to educate parents as the primary sexuality educators of their children. We got a groundbreaking 3-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health in 1974 to develop and pilot "family life education" programs expressly designed to help parents speak to their kids about sex, and out of that, in 1975, grew National Family Sex Education Week in October (later to become National Family Sexuality Education Month), an event he created to focus attention on supporting parents in that role, and which is still going strong all across the country, being celebrated now for nearly 35 years. And he held Wingspread Conferences among leading youth-serving professionals, clergy, health professionals, educators, and the media at the Johnson Foundation's center in Racine, Wisconsin, dedicated to sparking multiple and varied programs and policies for "preparing today's youth for tomorrow's family." The people who attacked him from the moment of that first comic book on, never could see past the humorous approach to sex, to the truth that what he was doing, fundamentally, was strengthening families and democratic values.

They couldn't see either, that the college professor who championed the First Amendment, including the freedom of and from religion, was himself deeply spiritual. That was apparent mostly in his own poetry that was sprinkled throughout his numerous self-help books for adults and youth. Only a man of faith and spirit could have written a line that often helps me in times of challenge: "If God wants to test you, what will you do?"

Sol had just founded the Institute when I took a Marriage and Family class from him in the spring of 1971. As a senior, I already had my GPA solid and an assistantship in clinical psych at Miami of Ohio in the fall, so I didn't attend class much. I got As on my exams, but also went to the next to the last class, because I thought it wise to make sure the professor knew me a little. When Dr. Gordon asked to see me after class, I had a terrible vision of an impending woodshed with me in it. But instead, Sol said, I know you're an A student, but I can't give you an A because you're never here. Write me a good paper comparing Abe Maslow's theory of being with any other psychologist's theory, and I'll give you a B. So I compared Maslow with R.D. Laing, the British radical psychiatrist so very in back in 1971, and he gave me the B as promised. Later that summer, just weeks before grad school was to start, I decided that I'd rather stay at Syracuse because my girlfriend was still there, and I was at a loss to know how that could happen, since I had neither admission to grad school at SU nor an assistantship to make it remotely affordable. But I remembered that professor who had handled me with such certainty and grace. I called Sol out of the blue, and he didn't criticize my judgment or decision, or even try to talk me out of it. He asked if I'd ever thought about working for more youth access to family planning and sex education, and offered me an assistantship on the spot. As these things often turn out, I later lost the girlfriend. But I had gained a mentor.

I had never seen someone talk about serious things in such a funny way. The guy was a master of comedic timing, and you could imagine him working a late-night crowd in a Catskills resort. But it was comedic timing with a psychologist's insights and twists. In front of crowds of hundreds and sometimes thousands, he would intone in a faux voice-from-the-throne, perhaps reminiscent of the baritone pomposity of the Mary Tyler Moore show's anchor-man, Ted Baxter, that "authorities say masturbation is ok...(pause)...(and now slowly)...IF you don't do it...(pause)...too much. (a little nervous laughter, then much stronger laughter in the crowd) (pause)...but nobody knows...(pause)...(now faster and a little louder)...how much is too much! (convulsive laughter).

And after the laughter subsided, he would say, back in real psychologist's voice: "and once is too much, if you don't like it."

He had a million of them like that, like how in comedian voice he would note that women weren't the only ones who could have multiple orgasms: Men do too, he said, once during the act, and then later when they tell their friends about it. Then in real psychologist voice, he'd talk about motives for having sex, equality between the genders, and what genuine or mature love and intimacy were really all about. About his advice book for teens called You, he would tell audiences of parents never to ask their kids to read it, because teenagers would instantly hate the book, but instead, to leave it on the coffee table and tell your teenagers not to look at it, and the parents would smile and laugh knowingly at his subversive wisdom. Parents or youth, professionals or public, he made them laugh like crazy, and then they listened to the real message like disciples.

He would also confront and challenge with the aphorisms that filled his self-help books, such as responding to people who said they were bored and had nothing to do, with "that's not interesting---if you're bored, you're boring to be with!" Said in the wrong way, that could be hurtful. Said in his way, with comic and exaggerated facial and vocal dynamics and timing, it was an unarguable truth that even a bored person had to smile at. It was a high-wire balancing act equal parts science and art, and I never saw anyone pull it off like that. Many of us learned to leaven our presentations with well-timed humor, but there was only one master of the form.

He was an idealist, but a pragmatist when needed. I got my Ph.D. because of Sol, not only because of the chance he took on me in the summer of 1971, allowing me to study with him, but also because he seized a turning-point moment to teach another lesson, during my dissertation defense. I had managed to work myself up over one committee member's passion for a 1950s theorist whose big point was that men should take care of instrumental needs in a family (the trash), and women take care of the expressive needs (the caring). For someone who had gone to college and graduate school in the '60s and '70s, with the women's liberation, civil rights, and anti-war movements all defining our young adulthood, this was too much for me and I mumbled something about the responsibility social scientists had to take a stand based on what their data show, that we shouldn't let the statistics speak for themselves, and that we should be working for social change. Sol saw the handwriting on the wall, or more accurately, in the flushed face of the professor to whom my comments were directed, and called a timeout to the proceedings. Whereupon he gave me a tongue-lashing out in the hall, asking if I was really so stupid as to not know that my Ph.D. was in jeopardy, and that if i didn't go in there and apologize and admit to the relevance of that gender-stereotyped theorist, there was nothing he could do to save me from being blackballed. It was shocking to see him so angry, at my practical stupidity as well as at making him look bad, and as hard as it was to do, I did what he ordered me to, offered abject apologies, and got my Ph.D. It was more than gratifying then, just a couple of years later, when our book The Sexual Adolescent was published, that some of the first words of the book were "This is an action-oriented book..." and "Our book is biased." Social scientists working for social change. Sol was always about the timing.

Years later, cris-crossing the country giving speeches about the need for comprehensive sexuality education and freedom of information, I experienced a small dose of hateful epithets and picketers, nothing like what Sol had experienced (including death threats and enough anti-Semitic hate mail to make one sick), but enough to give a taste of what it feels like. A group calling themselves the Guardians of Education for Maine protested one of my speeches in that state by distributing a flyer calling me "pornographer Sol Gordon's sidekick." Knowing what I had personally experienced about Sol's character, being called his "sidekick" was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me.

Sol's message about fundamental rights and responsibilities was always misunderstood by his detractors. In The Sexual Adolescent, we wrote that our list of rights and responsibilities asked one thing, "that people treat themselves, as well as others, with honesty and compassion." With Sol's leadership, our short list of sexual rights and responsibiltiies was freedom from sexist and sexual stereotyping, freedom of information, freedom to express affection, and the responsibility to avoid exploitation, the responsibility to avoid bringing an unwanted child into the world, the responsibility to avoid spreading disease, and the responsibility to accept individual preferences. Sol wrote that, as senior author, he felt free to have the last word in our book, and he did. He wrote that, "perhaps it is fitting to close with a message to the youth of America," a poem of his which today serves as a remembrance of Sol and his central message of honesty and compassion:

Self Acceptance

Joys can be shared
(Suffering is mainly personal)
Love energizing
Hate exhausting

Optimism is contagious
Pessimism debilitating

Envy, greed, jealousy, and
Prejudice are connected to
Self deprecation
while

Admiration, Affection, and
Caring for others to
Self Acceptance

Why live in the past
If your future is the present?

No one can make you
Feel
Inferior without your
consent.
Peter Scales (Developmental Psychologis)
December 17th, 2008
Like many of my colleagues, I am sad to learn of Sol's passing. The Center for Family Life Education spent today celebrating his life by watching an old video of Sol speaking to high school students. Sol was funny, wise, and most of all passionate. He spoke from the heart, as I always remembered him doing so.

Sol has left this world with a legacy of resources for sex educators. His books are must reads for every sex educator. The importance of his work goes beyond the sex ed field --- his more recent work on grieving is of critical importance. I remember seeing "When Living Hurts" prominently displayed in my local high school library after a teen driving tragedy. I am certain this is the case in other high school libraries throughout the country.

On a personal note, I remember the first time Sol participated in a
workshop I gave at a national conference. To say I was nervous and
intimidated by the presence of this legendary man would be an
understatement. Sol must have detected my nervousness. He was gentle and warm and encouraging. It's moments like that that stay with you.
Bill Taverner (Co-Editor, American Journ)
December 17th, 2008
November 13, 2008
I’ve just come from Chapel Hill, NC, where I spent three days with my dear friend, Sol Gorden, now 85 and dying. It was a moving time of sharing, being together, celebrating our friendship and saying goodbye. Sol has been one of my most important mentors and supports for many years. Sol is a PhD psychologist, author of 28 books, has given hundreds of lectures around the world, founded schools and an institute at Syracuse University, won many prizes and awards and devoted his life to service.
Sol is in a care facility now. His partner of the last ten years, Leah, is 83 herself now and cannot lift him when he falls, so decided the home was best. Leah is a professor of medicine, still teaching, and is a lovely person. She lives very nearby, visits him every day and takes him to his doctor appointments. Sol’s muscles are wasting away consumed by an auto-immune disorder. He’s very thin. Even his speech, swallowing and breathing muscles are very weak. His condition is not diagnosable. He will not last many months.
Notes from the last few days:
Sol is delighted to see me. He greets me with the same bright, shining blue eyes I’ve seen for 30 years when the door opens each time I visit. His body is failing fast, but his spirit looks brighter than ever. I’m delighted to see him looking content, despite his condition.
The first morning Sol says, “I want to take you to the University.” We drive around the campus of North Carolina University to see the buildings and the turning trees. Sol is comfortable here. The next day we drive to Duke University, also in Chapel Hill. He wants to see the Cathedral. We sit in the pews and he looks up at the stained glass windows. “Do you believe in God?” he asks me.
I wheel him around Duke’s botanical gardens for an hour or more in a wheel chair I’ve borrowed. The November morning air is cool. I wrap my jacket about him and we seek the warming sun. He’s enraptured with the turning leaves. “Aren’t they beautiful,” he says over and over. They are in their last glow, like him. Soon it will be winter.
I take Sol to a movie, The Secret Life of Bees, set in the civil rights South. Sol worked for years on civil rights issues, and founded three Head Start schools for Black children in the south with his wife Judith. Two were burned down. This movie is important to him. He watches intently.
We eat several meals together, in restaurants and at the home, me feeding him each bite and wiping his mouth. I helped him go to the bathroom a half dozen times and wiped his bottom once. I held his arm as we walked to restaurants and across squares, so he wouldn’t fall. Sol has been a great walker all his life, and he’s still walking, but both his arms hang limp at his sides; his hands are cold.
The front page of the morning newspaper announces that the local high school in Chapel Hill is staging a production of “The Laramie Project” a documentary play about Matthew Shepard, the 21 year-old young man that was beaten, tied to a post and left to die in Laramie, Wyoming only ten years ago, because he was gay. Sol wants to see it.
Of course he does. He’s spent his life teaching tolerance/celebration of diversity, sexual health and self esteem to young people and adults alike, during an era of intense homophobia. Each of his 28 books has addressed or at least included this important subject of sexual orientation. Now a high school is mounting a play on the subject. 78 students turned out to audition.
I walk Sol back to his room at the end of the day. “Sol,” I say, “I’m sorry that you have to go through all this difficulty with your body and everything . . . that you have to experience this.”
“It’s alright,” he answered, simply, clearly.
It’s alright. He is at peace. He is dying with grace and composure. He has accomplished a lot. But at dinner that first night, I saw that Sol is still living his life purpose, up until the very end. Though he no longer speaks of philosophy and social attitudes, no longer mounts campaigns in conversation, his speech direct and simple, he is still doing what was at the core of all his life’s work: supporting others’ self esteem, making people feel valued, appreciated, honored and respected. We sit at the dinner table in the care facility surrounded by very old people and simpletons, as they used to be called. These people speak very little and very basically. As we ate Sol would call across the table at intervals addressing one or the other of them. “We’re glad you’re here,” he says to one, “I appreciate you” to another, “I’m happy to see you” to yet another. He beams at them and they smile back.
Here is this amazing mind and spirit who has served so many over the years, lectured to thousands many times over, travelled the world, headed University departments, been honored repeatedly. Now he cannot hold a book to read, and though he seems very sharp about details and logistics and remembers everything, his mind is failing now at some level. “I don’t read anymore – everything gets mixed up,” he says. Yet, he is not depressed, but accepting. And he keeps serving in the way that he can.
We spent three days. I left Sol yesterday morning for the last time. Before I go I say to him, “Many people, when they get to your stage in life, begin to feel fear for what lies ahead.” He shook his head immediately, even before I could ask the question.
“I’m not afraid,” he said and looked at me with those clear blue eyes.
“Good,” I said. “Would you like to hear a couple of poems?”
“Yeah.”
I read two pieces about death, about liberation, newfound wellbeing, a broadening life, freedom.
“Beautiful,” said Sol, simply but emphatically. After a pause, “I want to lie down now.” He lay down and I held his hand.
“Sol, we probably won’t see each other again. Thank you. Thank you – for everything you’ve given me over these many years. You will always be with me.”
“I love you,” he responded. “You’re my best friend.” And after a pause, “I want you to go now. Give my warm greetings to the people you’re going to see.”
I hugged him as he lay there, and kissed him and the tears came. At that moment a knock sounded at the door. His next visitor had arrived, driven down from New Jersey to see him. I show Pete how to assemble the wheelchair and tell him about the play that evening that Sol wants to attend. A last hug, a last glance, and I walk away, down the hall.

Garth Gilchrist (Friend)
December 17th, 2008
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Candles

"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 www.ISAFonline.org 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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