Gordon C. Sage
1921 - 2020


My father, Gordon C. Sage, was born Oct. 21, 1921, and raised on a small ranch near the foot of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This picturesque resort area endowed him with a lifelong love of wildlife, nature and scenic beauty. It was here that he acquired an intimate knowledge of nature. At a very young age, it became evident that he was born with the natural ability to take that knowledge and turn it into artistic masterpieces.
September 1939, his senior year, Hitler’s troops invaded Poland. He decided to join the National Guard to help guard his country. Graduating from Rapid City High School in 1940, he made another decision ... he felt it was his duty to his country, he switched to the U.S. Marine Corps. He hitchhiked to the recruiting center in Minneapolis, MN. Gordon was soon sent to boot camp at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, CA, assigned to a seagoing Marine unit. At age 20, he was assigned to Rear Admiral Walter Stratton Anderson on the USS Maryland, as his orderly. Admiral Anderson was the commander of the battleship fleet in the Pacific Theater. On Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese war planes struck, and Gordon started hearing explosions. A friend came to his door and said, “this is it” ... Pearl Harbor was being bombed. The bay was on fire and the flames were right up against the ship. He jumped in a line and started passing ammunition to an antiaircraft gun until the admiral came aboard.
The Maryland was struck with three blows but spared heavy damage. The ship crippled out of the harbor and went to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, for repairs. In Seattle, he met the love of his life, Patricia Decker and they were married.
He returned to active duty and participated in the landing of Tarawa in the Gilbert Islands, fighting on the Marshall Islands, the Mariana Islands of Guam Saipan, Tinian, then on to the landing of Iwo Jima.
After World War II, Gordon went to art school for awhile then re-enlisted in the Army-Air Corps. He chose the Air Force when the branches separated. He kept close ties with art by serving as an illustrator in the military, painting in his spare time. Gordon put in another 20 years of teaching in the Evergreen School District in Clark County, WA, where he had called home for 58 years.
He spent his life exploring the potential of oil paint with all it richness and variety of texture. Gordon Sage was a versatile and prolific artist, the greater part of his output consists of Native American themes, encompassing native myths, customs and dress. The rest of his work is comprised of landscapes, wildlife, portraits, allegory and literary themes. Most of his work created in the last 20 years has been painted with a palette knife.
His formal art training began at Colorado Springs Fine Art Center where he studied under Boardman Robinson. Later, Gordon graduated from Arizona State University and received his masters degree from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR.
Gordon had shown and sold to collectors in Japan, France, South Dakota, Arizona, California, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver.
He is survived by his daughter, Donna G. Sage; son-in-law, Ray B. Bailey; grandsons, Shane Bird and wife Deborah, Wade Bird and partner, John, and Ryan Bird and wife, Tracy; great-granddaughters, Payton, Trisha and Jessica; great-grandsons, Tee Jay and Spencer; great-great-grandsons, Colton, Logan and Geddy; and great-great-granddaughter, Haley; step-great-grandsons, Chris, Brandon, step-great-granddaughter, Alex, and surrogate granddaughter, Susannah. Plus many dear family members and friends.
Preceding him in death was wife, Patricia; granddaughter, Carmel; and step-grandson, Brian.
Graveside service is Nov. 25, at 11 a.m. “Wilson Bridge Cemetery” on 72nd Avenue.
Please share a memory @ www.columbian.com/obits

Published by The Columbian on Nov. 20, 2020.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Graveside service
Wilson Bridge Cemetery
72nd Avenue, WA
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

16 Entries
I send sincere sympathy to Mr. Sage´s family. He was my 8th grade science teacher at Covington Jr. high. He was an inspiration and was such a kind teacher. I learned so much the year I was in his class. I believe he helped me understand science in a new way at! He will be missed, but will always be remembered!
Debbie Johnson
September 19, 2021
What a Great Man.,so glad I got to know him.My dad loved him.
Frank Garver
June 24, 2021
Gordon was pretty close to my grandparents Shirley and John. I was amazed by his stories and oil paintings (I have one that he painted for my mother (Rhonda)). He lived a full life and I am glad that we were able to share some memories with him.
Michael Watts (Geesaman)
December 8, 2020
I had Mr. Sage in Jr High at Covington for Crafts. He taught us how to safely operate machinery i didnt even know the names of, leather tooling, plastics. He was so kind and for me, as a young, inexperienced girl in the world of tools, he made me feel safe to use the machinery and instilled confidence. Reading his obituary ..... what an amazing man and life. Heartfelt condolences to all of his family, I’m sure you are very proud of the life he lead.
Brenda (Brown) Christina
December 6, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. I can honestly say to you that Mr. Sage was absolutely one of the best teachers I ever had. I went to the Evergreen school district and over the years I took as many of his classes that I could. Not only was he a wonderful man, kind and caring I can remember getting goose bumps and being in AWE of some of his creations. I remember a painting above his desk of a mountain lion leaping down on a horse as it was running away in terror, I was speechless and in awe of its beauty, as a horse owner I could literally feel the horses fear in that painting, he even offered to sell it to me, but I could never afforded it at that time. I also remember him working on pottery pieces, I believe for his niece (maybe his daughters) wedding, he had a large full set of dishes ect. it was fantastic, I remember thinking, lucky girl! I still have a wood creation that he helped me make that I gave to my grandmother, it hung on her wall till she passed away and it is now back in my possession. I have thought of him, and his art and I wish there is a virtual gallery somewhere of his art or things that he did as I would LOVE to see it. It was truly a gift to see, know and be taught by such a multi-talented artist. Rest in peace sir, as you will be fondly remembered in my heart and many students hearts forever!
Terry Coonrod Wieber
November 27, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Cassandra Kendrick
November 26, 2020
One of my favorite teachers in high school. He always had a kind smile and twinkle in his eye. My deepest condolences.
Susan Peres
November 24, 2020
Everytime I smell hot plastic I think of Mr. Sage. Loved his craft class.
November 24, 2020
Thanks Gordon, for the GREAT memories that we shared at Covington. I still treasure your wildlife painting with ducks from 1973. You were not just a great artist but you taught so many to love and appreciate art along the way. A special thank you to Tracy for updating me on Gordon's adventures each time our paths crossed. That connection to Gordon through you meant a great deal to me over the years.
Ken Howell
November 22, 2020
I had the distinct pleasure of having Mr. Sage as a teacher at Covington JHS in 1976. I remember him as a kind and gentle person and an excellent teacher. As I was very much interested in history, especially WWII, we had a couple of conversations about his experiences at Pearl Harbor. When I see how extensive his war record was, I think that it must have been his love for nature than sustained him--and, maybe, the war renewed his love for nature. Rest in Peace, Mr. Sage.
Kevin Patrick Stolz
November 22, 2020
Toni Burnett
November 22, 2020
Mr. Sage was an amazing teacher. He taught at Covington Junior High. We did leather work in his class and I made my first eye glass case. He was also related to my daughter in law Trisha Burnett and I got to see him several times for holiday's. I enjoyed those times and my heart aches for his family. I am sure he is enjoying the beauty of heaven's colors.
Toni Burnett
November 21, 2020
November 21, 2020
Gordon Sage taught with my husband, Jimmy Rupp, at Evergreen High School, and taught our son, Aaron, pottery at EHS. Gordon was a delight for both students and staff. Rupp family hearts are with the whole Sage family
Paquita Rupp
November 20, 2020
Mr. Sage was my teacher at Covington Junior High in the early 70s. I took his art/crafts class and he was everyone’s favorite teacher. I have fond memories of his quiet and encouraging manner. I still have a woodworking project he helped me create. My condolences to his family.
Kim VanAntwerp Perry
November 20, 2020
Donna, what a wonderful tribute to your Father. He was an extraordinary man. Jim and I came from the Black Hills also and we enjoyed sharing that connection with him.
Janet Cottingham
November 20, 2020
Showing 1 - 16 of 16 results