About the Author:

K. Gordon Oppenheimer - med size photo

K. Gordon Oppenheimer (November 24, 1926 - February 17, 2008) was a U.S. government attorney who devoted the bulk of his professional career to writing.
Read his obituary from the Washington Post.

Steve O's eulogy of his father, K. Gordon Oppenheimer, delivered at the funeral on February 19, 2008:

Most of you who knew Dad for a long time remember his love of words and wordplay, his quick, sharp wit, and his sense of fairness. He was a devoted family man who was very involved in our lives, encouraged our intellectual pursuits, took us to museums and sporting events and so on. He loved to travel, and we went on road trips ranging from local day trips to a 5-week drive from coast to coast and back and visits to Canada and Florida. He and my mother traveled internationally, including multiple trips to Europe and visits to Israel, Turkey, and elsewhere.

My father was a sort of Renaissance man in that he had wide-ranging interests and many talents. Aside from his professional interests as an attorney, he was a talented amateur artist who worked in multiple media, a lover of classical music, and a sports fan who enjoyed baseball until the Washington Senators left town and thereafter devoted himself to watching Washington Redskins football. Although Dad had a good bit of self discipline in many respects, he was so soft-hearted toward dogs that he could not bring himself to train our Miniature Schnauzers, but he loved them dearly and they clearly returned the affection. Whenever I visited, one of the first things he wanted to hear about was how my dogs were doing. Everything else came after that.

Dad was a voracious reader on many subjects, with a passion for 19th century writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, and Edgar Alan Poe; 20th centruy humorists like James Thurber; and many others. But if you were to browse my parents library, you would be especially struck by the huge collection of American political and military history books covering every era. Of these, however, a few topics stood out: of course Dad was an attorney, so he had books about law and the courts. He had an amazing number of books about World War II, which is natural enough since he was a veteran of that war. He enjoyed naval history and books about the sea, though he was not a sailor.

Most especially, Dad was an American patriot, who had a deep knowledge of and love for the principles upon which our country was founded. Dad was very devoted to Judaism, but he did have one noteworthy twist in his theology, which was that he thought that the US Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were books of the Bible.

Dad stayed well informed about politics, and we discussed world events and national events at the dinner table almost nightly. You had best be prepared when you spoke up because Dad was going to make you cite your sources and defend your opinions rationally. Fuzzy-minded thinking did not pass the muster. But rather than put you down with a personal criticism for saying something you couldn’t defend, he would shred you with humor. He often would start a conversation, then let others talk for awhile while he waited until just the right moment, when he would interject a sharp comment that either put the topic into common sense perspective or cracked everyone up, ending the conversation in laughter all around. We might laugh at his wit but we got his point clearly.

I mentioned earlier that he was a devoted father and was very involved in our lives, and I can’t overemphasize that. When I consider the things that have been my lifelong passions, I realize that most of them were similar to his: dogs, sports, history, music, art, and all the other things I’ve mentioned. He was my number one hero, and if I can ever be half the man he was, I will have done well indeed.