OBITUARY

Gordon H. Ira Jr., M.D.

November 18, 1929June 21, 2019
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Dr. Gordon Henry Ira, Jr. left this world peacefully on June 21, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was a lifelong Jacksonville native, born on November 18, 1929 at St. Vincent’s Hospital to Anis Tompkins Ira and Gordon H. Ira Sr. MD.

He was educated at local schools including West Riverside Elementary, John Gorrie Junior High and Robert E. Lee High School where he played football and tennis and sang in the school choir.

He went on to Duke University in 1946 where he completed his undergraduate degree and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and then graduated from Duke Medical School.

He began his residency in Jacksonville at Duval Medical Center, now UF Health Shands Hospital, while waiting to enlist in the US Navy. After joining the Navy, he was assigned to run the Charleston Naval Hospital ‘s medical ward.

After his stint in the Navy, Gordon returned to Duke for his medical residency and cardiology fellowship. In 1963, he joined his father in his Jacksonville practice for 10 years and then partnered with Dr. Gene Page for another 25 years, the entire time assisted by Kate Smith RN. He retired in 1998 after 35 years as a practicing cardiologist. Gordon was a fourth-generation physician and believed strongly in traditional face to face patient care. Upon his retirement, his patients recalled this individualized patient care, citing meaningful friendships that went far beyond the patient doctor relationship. In the words of a grateful patient, Dr. Ira "cared about me as a whole person and not just for a particular condition I had."

Dr. Ira designed and started the first Critical Care Unit in Jacksonville, initiated cardiac monitoring and installed Jacksonville’s first external defibrillator. He was Chief of Medicine for 25 years at St Luke’s Hospital. He was Chairman of the Jacksonville Inter-Hospital Coronary Care Committee and received a regional health grant to put defibrillators in the hospital’s Critical Care Unit installing monitors in each hospital room, resulting in a reduction of the citywide mortality rate by 25%. He was honored for his work at St. Luke's Hospital through the creation of the Gordon H. Ira Jr. MD annual lectureship series. Dr. Ira also served on the mayor’s committee to establish the first medical rescue program in Jacksonville.

It would be something of an understatement to say that Gordon possessed a high sense of adventure. He pursued his hobbies with continued learning in mind and extreme commitment. He was an avid outdoorsman, hunter, dog breeder and trainer, SCCA winning race car driver, off-road motorcycle rider, white water kayaker, wind surfer, competitive pistol and skeet shooter, heli-skier, water skier, sailor, hang glider, gardener, golfer, tennis player, aerobatic pilot, beer brewer, cave and ocean SCUBA diver and national champion racquetball player. Gordon and his wife Joice built the Jacksonville Racquetball Club in 1978 and ran the business until its sale.

In his later years, Gordon returned full time to his lifelong passion for photography having had his first camera and dark room as a child. This love led to his presidency of the Jacksonville Camera Club from 2015 until 2017. He was proficient at Photoshop and taught classes on both Photoshop and portrait photography. As publisher of the Club’s newsletter, he twice received national awards for the newsletter design. Gordon traveled the world to capture many of his award-winning photographs and was responsible for many years of coordinated family photo sessions.

He was a lifetime member of The Florida Yacht Club and Timuquana Country Club.

Most importantly, Gordon was a true family man who shared his fondness for hobbies and adventure with his wife and children. He celebrated 46 years of marriage to his great love, Joice Malbon Ira. He also leaves behind four cherished children, Stephen Reynolds Ira, Cynthia Ira Reynolds (Perry), Gregory Thatcher Ira (Ami), Clifford Whipple Ira (Megan), 2 grandchildren, Christine Ira Stahl (Alex), Stephanie Marie Ira, and soon to be great granddaughter Eleanor Davis Stahl. He is also survived by his brother Stewart Bentley Ira (Eileen), sister Anis Ira Daley, and seven nieces and their families. He was predeceased by his parents Gordon Henry Ira Sr. MD and Anis Tompkins Ira, brother-in-law Barnwell Roy Daley, Jr., sister-in-law Elizabeth (Bebe) Brown Ira and son, Gordon Henry Ira III.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Community Hospice and Palliative Care, 4266 Sunbeam Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32257 or a charity of your choice. Contributions in memory of Gordon Ira can also be made to Jacksonville Camera Club, c/o Jim Jordan, 2612 Pheasant Ct. W, St. Johns, FL 32259.

Please join the family for a Celebration of Life which will be held on Thursday, June 27 from 5 - 8 pm at Gordon and Joice's residence.

Services

  • Celebration of Life Thursday, June 27, 2019

Memories

Gordon H. Ira Jr., M.D.

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Mark Peacock

July 15, 2019

My family moved to Jacksonville from Orlando in 1969. Shortly thereafter, my father had a massive heart attack. Had it not been for Dr. Ira and the newly developed EMS system, he would never had made the return journey from death back to life. My family is very indebted to the fine physician. Because of Dr. Ira and his pioneering work, my dad lived another sixteen years and I became inspired to become a physician and help others as Dr. Ira had done. Thank you, Gordon and the entire Ira family, for allowing me to also help others. No good deeed goes unrewarding. Doc was an amazing man and led an equally amazing life. God bless.

C Ronalf Belton

July 13, 2019

Joice..,.been traveling, so very sad to her about your great guy my thoughts and sincere prayers are with you and everyone you love. Ronnie Belton

Bill/Jeanne Vaughters

June 27, 2019

We met Gordon and Joice through the Jacksonville Camera Club. Our life long friends, Rick and Dee Hartmann, planned several camera club trips to Franklin NC which we were delighted to host. Gordon and Joice became dear friends even though we only saw each other a couple of times a year. Gordon was a person who knew how to appreciate every moment of life. His lifelong search for knowledge was a huge part of who he was. We remember him for his optimism and positive energy that radiated through all who knew and loved him. Gordon will always remain alive in our hearts. Bill and Jeanne

CHARISE TANNER

June 27, 2019

Gordon H. Ira, Jr. was an amazing individual and a blessing to have as a friend.
If you have read the long and varied list of his accomplishments, his personal and professional contributions to society and community, and all the interests and hobbies he pursued over the years, you would certainly concede that Gordon was the ultimate example of a modern day Renaissance Man.
I had the privilege of meeting and knowing Gordon for many years through the Jacksonville Camera Club. While pursuing our mutual interest in photography, I grew to love and admire him for the extraordinary person he was. Gordon truly loved our group, its purpose and direction, and made significant contributions to the growth and success of the club. He was constantly looking for ways to strengthen its core. Dedicated to helping others improve their own talents in photography, he selflessly volunteered his time and knowledge to lead or host many educational programs, meetings and photo sessions. With Joice (a person of considerable talent and humility herself) by his side at many of these gatherings, they made everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Whether it was a long weekend out of town or an evening at their lovely home on the river, one was sure to have a good time and learn something about the art of photography.
The portrait photo of Gordon displayed on this memorial page is the perfect image of him; a warm sincere smile, straight forward gaze with a twinkle in his eye! I often had trouble discerning if he was being serious about something or “pulling my leg”. My sense of humor has always been a bit naïve and I think Gordon caught on early to my “humor handicap”. That twinkle in his eye was what gave him away.
Gordon made this a brighter and better place for all of us. I will miss him dearly. . . But his light and legacy shall live on in those of us who knew and loved him. I believe we could do no greater honor to Gordon than paying forward that which he gave to us.

Gail Means

June 26, 2019

Meet Gordon thru the Jacksonville Camera Club. Gordon shared his knowledge with anyone that needed any help with photography. He will be missed.

George Hoskins

June 25, 2019

Gordon became a good friend through many years in the Jacksonville Camera Club. Gordon certainly loved photography, and our Club. We will miss him greatly.

Rick Hartmann

June 24, 2019

Gordon was the finest human being I have ever known. We met through the Jacksonville Camera Club and have been shooting partners for many years. In spite of his many accomplishments, he has always maintained a low profile. He never wanted his contributions known and their were many. He helped me in adversity not because he was asked but because he said he had a plan that would help. His passing is a loss to everyone that has ever known him.

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