obituary for the late gordon paul means

from the local newspaper in the US:


For “Lives Remembered,” Chaska Herald and 12 other Southwest Metro newspapers, August 18, 2010. Shorter obituaries appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, August 15, 16, 2010


Passed away Aug. 12 at home, aged 83, peacefully in his sleep, after a short but courageous battle with ALS. Survived by his devoted wife, Laurel; four children: Kristin, Norval (Laila), Erik (Anne), and Kaia; stepchildren Adrian Braswell, Julia Reiners (Paul), and Eric Braswell; eight grandchildren; his sisters Virginia Means Rowe, Mariel Means Ames (Ned), and Charlotte Means-Shields (Charles);  and many loving nephews and nieces. Gordon spent much of his early life in Southeast Asia, where his parents, Paul and Nathalie Means, were Methodist missionaries, and continued to work with them toward the development of schools and medical facilities among the Sengoi and Temier, aboriginal peoples in northwest Malaysia. He continued his parent’s dedication to these people through many contributions, including publication of the first Sengoi and Temiar dictionaries (1986, 1998). After his military service in the navy, he pursued his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Washington, eventually acquiring a specialization in Southeast Asian politics through first-hand research in the area and an extensive list of internationally recognized publications, most recently the widely acclaimed Political Islam in Southeast Asia (2009). Gordon taught at, among others, the universities of Washington, Iowa, McMaster (Canada), Sumatra, Beijing, Singapore, Malaya, Hamlin, Gustavus Adolphus, and the University of Minnesota’s Institute of International Studies.  He and his wife, Laurel, settled in Chaska after retirement in 1996, partly  to retrace his roots back to Long Prairie in Todd county, where his greatgrandfather, Jonathan Toms, had been a pioneer settler and Civil War veteran of the Minnesota Third Regiment, and partly to reconnect with his sister, Virginia (“Gina”) Rowe and her family in Waconia.

Gordon lived his life to the fullest, enjoying family camping in his little Scamp, strenuous canoeing in the Boundary Waters, fast-paced golfing, or competing even faster on the tennis court.  He was an active member of Discovery United Methodist Church, Chanhassen, serving there in several administrative capacities. Chaska’s  Jonathan Association also shared his interests and concerns, a commitment bringing  him their “Apple Award” in 2009. Despite being internationally named one of the leading intellectuals of the twenty-first century, he was essentially a humble man, generous with both knowledge and hands-on help. Although much missed, he will long be remembered for these and his many other gifts – family devotion, wisdom, humor,  and unerring practical sense.

The family is grateful for Ridgeview’s Hospice care, especially Nurse Marci, and for the concerns and expertise of Dr. David Haugland, Lakeview  Clinic.  A memorial service in celebration of his remarkable life will be held at Discovery Methodist Church, Chanhassen, Saturday September 25, 4:30 p.m., visitation one hour prior. Memorial donations may be made to Ridgeview Hospice or the ALS Society.  Arrangements Washburn-McReavey, (952) 975-0400.