In Memoriam

Gordon L. Jaynes

1929 - 2022

SHELBYVILLE – Gordon L Jaynes, the beloved husband of Lyle Lawson departed this earth on 4 December 2022. Gordon was born in Spokane, Washington, on 6 February 1929. He is survived by Lyle and his daughter Janice of Seattle, Washington. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Whitman College, in Walla Walla, Washington where his late parents, Jimmie and Charlie Jaynes, resided for most of their lives; his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Washington and his Postgraduate Diploma in International Law from University College, London.

Gordon lived a full and adventurous life. He is a legend in all matters of construction disputes. Applying his vast knowledge to understand issues and create solutions for clients worldwide. He is a lawyer by training and wise beyond measure in his very practical way. His passions in life were many: work, travel, F1 motorsports, wine, and single malt, to name a few. He was always generous in giving his time to listen and help problem-solve with anyone that would ask.

He was passionate about dispute resolution, particularly early dispute resolution, as a charter member of the Dispute Review Board Foundation. He promoted and served on many dispute boards throughout the world. To work with Gordon was to constantly learn, to be challenged and to think through issues with fresh perspectives and insight. Gordon was a fearsome advocate but always speaking in his booming baritone voice of the practical and realistic way forward. Gordon’s work as arbitrator was beyond reproach – treating all with respect and showing his genuine interest in understanding what had happened and shaping the appropriate remedies.

Work was a constant in Gordon’s life – he had so much wisdom to share, curiosity to learn more, explore more and bring out the best in others. His work resume is long and influenced by the work ethics of his parents. After law school, he served active duty in the US Army, then as a civilian attorney for the US 3rd Air Force headquarters in England, and then to USAF Ballistic Systems Division in California. Leaving the USAF missel program, Gordon became an in-house counsel for Kaiser Engineers & Constructors; he worked on construction projects throughout Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. It was that love of construction and the drive of the company’s founder Henry Kaiser to “Do it faster, cheaper, and better” that instilled all that creativity Gordon brought to each and every project he worked on. After receiving encouragement frommany people with whom he had worked over the years and wishing for more autonomy, Gordon took the step of setting up his own law office headquartered in London. He often said that despite a few rough patches in its early years, going on his own was the best career move he made and allowed him to work successfully until his death.

Gordon fell in love with England, settling at Faircross in the Wentworth Estate. Faircross was his pride and anchor. Many of us were honored to have meetings at Faircross, where we would look out at the beautiful gardens while meeting around his large dining room table. Lyle would invariably put out a grand lunch for all (accompanied by the appropriate wines, each one carefully chosen by Gordon). To be at Faircross was to be surrounded by care, warmth, and inspiration.

Gordon adored people and talking. He could talk for hours on nearly any subject. His knowledge was vast, and his interest varied. Gordon travelled the world for work and pleasure. (It was on one of his personal travels that he chanced to see an interesting looking fellow traveler standing in the check-in line of Austrian Airlines at Greece’s Thessaloniki Airport; that “fellow traveler” was Lyle; both were heading to Istanbul, she to return to her job in that city, he to visit one of the places on his “Bucket List”. That initial encounter led to 43 years of adventurous travel exploring many parts of the world.)

Gordon was happy as he could be kicking in the mud on a hydroelectric site in Indonesia or travelling all day to a remote site in China. He adored being at sea, crossing the Atlantic several times in his favorite tall ship, the Sea Cloud. The only bad thing about being at sea was that he, an enthusiastic “Petrol Head”, could not watch his beloved F1 racing. Through good racing seasons and bad, he adored his Williams team, the drivers’ skill, and the racing technology.

Gordon’s other passion was books. He constantly read, and those who have been to Faircross, and his library know how many books he has enjoyed. Gordon’s memory and wit are forever sealed in our memories. A sage quotation and turn of the word were always at hand for Gordon. He loved language and expression in writing. Gordon’s gift, or many of his gifts, was to express ideas clearly and unambiguously.

A member of Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Gordon loved wine and shared that wine with those of us when we visited. His collection was vast and delicious.

Gordon and Lyle returned to the US in October this year to be surrounded by Lyle’s Kentucky family and begin a new chapter in their lives together. Sadly, that chapter has not been written, as Gordon’s time was cut far too short. At his passing, his long-time personal assistant, Carol, was setting up Gordon’s new office operations in his new home. We are all shocked and sad at his death, wishing we could have just one more call, a few more minutes with a true gentleman and legend.

Gordon’s passing has indeed closed an era, but his legacy of integrity in all his actions lives on through all of us that have had the incredible luck to have spent time with him.

Rest in peace, Gordon. You are loved and forever missed.

Cremation was chosen and there will be a Celebration of Gordon’s Life when the weather is warmer!

In keeping with Gordon’s passion for books, donations are suggested to the Reading Reindeer Program at the Shelby County Library, 309 8th Street, Shelbyville, KY 40065 or your local library.

Shannon Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

*Originally appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal on December 9, 2022.

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