Richard Gordon Lambert

Mar 9th, 1935 - Mar 18th, 2021
Richard Gordon Lambert

Richard Gordon Lambert, 86, of Marion passed away at 5:50 a.m., Thursday, on March 18, 2021, at his home surrounded by family.

Gordon was born in Marion on March 9, 1935, to Richard and Elsie (Stratman) Lambert. He married Jo Ellen Ray of Goreville on November 9, 1963, and together they shared more than 57 wonderful years of marriage. She survives in Marion.

Gordon was a lifelong member of the Community of Christ Church in Marion, where he was ordained at age 17 as a lay minister and later served as pastor for nearly two decades.  Gordon’s nearly 70 years of ministry reached far and wide, providing guidance, comfort and a calming presence to those often found themselves dealing with the struggles of life, regardless of their beliefs, status, or station in life.   

Gordon was a stand-out athlete at Marion High School, where he captained the MHS basketball and baseball teams, and also quarterbacked the football team.  Offered a free agent baseball contract by three Major League Baseball teams out of a high school, he instead chose to play basketball and baseball for the Salukis at SIU.  Gordon also played semi-pro baseball after college, his left-handed curve ball causing fits for hitters who faced him.

From 1957-59, Gordon served his country in the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood. He then obtained his law degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Gordon passed the bar and married Jo Ellen in the fall of 1963. He immediately joined legendary trial attorney, Ralph Harris in Marion, forming the law firm of Harris & Lambert.

Gordon is perhaps best known for being the most formidable plaintiff’s attorneys in Southern Illinois, shattering previous verdicts in the area. His peers honored him with a nomination to the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honor bestowed on few attorneys. No case was too insignificant for Gordon’s full attention and energy, earning him the respect of his opponents, clients, and the local judiciary. Many considered Gordon to be a real-life Atticus Finch, both in his professional and personal life, as he embodied the traits of honor, integrity, and morality.   

Gordon is survived by his beloved wife and five children: Dan, of Marion, Sam, of Goreville, Sanna Rogers (Jay) of LaGrange, Kentucky, Erica Long (Adam) of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and Jim (Amy) of Marion.; sister Barbara Patton of Marion; grandchildren Max, Grady and Hayden Rogers, Ben, Anna and Sam Long, Claire and Logan Lambert, and Ginna Ragan, Haylee, Ella and J.R. Lambert; and several dear nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

A private graveside service for immediate family only will be held at Cana Cemetery in Goreville, with Dr. Gordon Rhine officiating. Due to the current pandemic, a public memorial service will be announced at a later date.  Mitchell-Hughes Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, Gordon and Jo Ellen would suggest donations to his church campground, Brush Creek, check payable to Brush Creek Campground, c/o Chris Ober, 1107 North Merchant Street, Effingham, Illinois, 62401.

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20 Guestbook Messages

  • Guest: Robert and Kay Broeking

    From: Marion, Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    He will be greatly missed.

  • Guest: Gary E. McDonald

    From: Blue Springs, Missouri

    Date: March 20, 2021

    Gordon was a high functioning human being. We used to talk about life and his conversations always seemed to include baseball. I think he loved baseball and people. I feel a large hole Gordon occupied even though our friendship was years ago. I miss you already Gordon. Good travels my friend.

  • Guest: Nancy (Roach) Hagans

    From: Marion, Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    I am so sorry for your loss. Gordon was such a nice man and great boss. RIP Gordon. Prayers for the family.

  • Guest: Linda Jones

    From: Flora, Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    What a remarkable man. Always enjoyed him at Brush Creek and at my house doing home visits. Had a beautiful family he will be missed greatly but oh what beautiful memories. Love , hugs and prayers for family.

  • Guest: Joy Parrish

    From: Denver, Colorado

    Date: March 20, 2021

    Sending you love and prayers

  • Guest: Shirley Harvel

    From: Energy, Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    Jo Ellen & family, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Gordon is in a much better place now. The Lord said that it was time for Gordon to rest. His work is done here. What a wonderful job he has done with family & friends! I’m so blessed to call him my friend. Blessings to you & your family.

  • Guest: Randy and Kay (Dean) Miller

    From: Johnsonville, Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Gordon was a special friend to my mother and Dad, Jeanette and Oscar Dean. May God Bless you with his presence.

  • Guest: Sandy Keehler

    From: Carterville , Illinois

    Date: March 20, 2021

    All of you are in my prayers.

  • Guest: Albert L Smith

    From: BENTON, Illinois

    Date: March 21, 2021

    My deepest condolences to Gordon’s family, he was a wonderful man

  • Guest: Delores R. Hurley

    From: , Illinois

    Date: March 21, 2021

    My condolences to your family. Mr. Lambert was an icon in the community and an example for all. My father, Don Hurley, was a schoolmate and so respected Mr. Lambert – I believe it was why he urged me to enter the legal profession. May you find comfort from the Lord.

  • Guest: Becky Long

    From: Lamoni , Iowa

    Date: March 21, 2021

    Gordon was an amazing man who leaves an awesome legacy. Peace to all those mourning his loss.

  • Guest: Delores R. Hurley

    From: , Illinois

    Date: March 21, 2021

    My condolences for your loss. Mr. Lambert was an icon in our community, setting a standard to emulate. My father, Don Hurley, was a schoolmate of Mr. Lambert and much admired him. I believe it’s what motivated him to push me into the practice of law. You are in my prayers.

  • Guest: john goss

    From: marioni, Illinois

    Date: March 21, 2021

    Rainie and I send heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Nearly a lifetime valued friend, an example for all to attempt to copy.

  • Guest: Sharon and Gary Bundren.

    From: Marion, Illinois

    Date: March 21, 2021

    We were sorry to hear of Gordon’s passing. I worked in the Harris and Lambert office in late 1960s, and always enjoyed working around Gordon. He was a gentleman in every way. We will be thinking of you and the family during this difficult time.

  • Guest: Anita and Dick Stotlar

    From: , Illinois

    Date: March 22, 2021

    To the family of Gordon we want to express our deepest sympathies. If there was any person you would pattern your life after it would be Gordon’s. We know he will be missed greatly. God bless you.

  • Guest: Richard & Kathryn Stilley

    From: Mulberry, Florida

    Date: March 22, 2021

    Gordon was such a fine man. It was our honor to know him. So very sorry.

  • Guest: Mary Beth Hogg (Murphy-Vaughn)

    From: Columbia, Missouri

    Date: March 29, 2021

    Sorry to hear of Gordon’s passing. We were classmates back in the 50’s. He was always ready for a friendly conversation.

  • Guest: Dr. Benjamin & Mrs. Ann Marie Shepherd

    From: Makanda, Illinois, Illinois

    Date: March 30, 2021

    Dear Lambert Family,
    It was with great sadness and disappointment that we learned of Gordon’s death. Please know that we share your sorrow along with many others whose lives he touched, Jo Ellen.
    Initially, the Shepherds befriended the Lamberts by becoming neighbors at Saluki football and basketball games. This friendship has blossomed into exchanging holiday messages at Christmastime.
    Saying goodbye is always difficult. Yet, Gordon will be remembered so dearly by many whose lives he impacted at church, as a family man, as a star athlete, and through his stellar legal career. We pray God’s abundant grace and mercy upon you as you adapt to life without Gordon. May God bless each of you.

  • Guest: Larry and Bobbie Drury

    From: Marietta,, Georgia

    Date: April 2, 2021

    I have known Gordon most of my life. A solid and sound man in all walks of life. We offer our sincere condolences for your loss. May God bless Sue Ellen and all members of the family.
    Larry And Bobbie Drury, Marietta, GA

  • Guest: Dale Harris

    From: Denver, Colorado

    Date: April 7, 2021

    I have so many great memories of Gordon as a friend and high school team mate. He was a role model that I admired then and through the years. My heartfelt condolences to his family and his many friends.