SAN DIEGO — Deacon Gordon Eugene Shockley, who was ordained for the Diocese of San Diego and later risked his life serving an underground Church in the Middle East, died April 15. He was 85.
Born in San Diego on Sept. 22, 1933, Deacon Shockley married Annis Bledsoe in 1964. Though the couple later divorced, they had two children, Gordon Jr. and Katie.
A retired U.S. Marine Corps major, Deacon Shockley served for 23 years and was deployed during
the Vietnam War as a helicopter co-pilot.
He was ordained to the permanent diaconate on June 11, 1977. He briefly served at St. Gabriel Parish and St. Michael Parish, both in Poway, before work took him to Saudi Arabia in 1979. He corresponded with the Diocese of San Diego, but did not return to live there.
“Since San Diego, I was blessed with the opportunity to do some spiritual good for others in Saudi Arabia, Chile, Antarctica, Texas and aboard various U.S. Navy ships,” he said.
“In Saudi Arabia, I was able to help Christians in an underground Church where everything was done in secret and to practice your faith was against the law.”
Deacon Shockley had been a resident of Air Force Village in San Antonio, Texas, since 2000. In life, he had expressed a desire to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.