George Gordon Liddy, husband of the late Frances Purcell Liddy, entered eternal life on March 30, 2021. He was predeceased by Frances, his father Sylvester J. Liddy, R.V.O., K.N.O., his mother Maria Abbaticchio Liddy of West Caldwell, NJ. He is survived his sister Margaret McDermott of Short Hills, NJ, his five children Alexandra Liddy Bourne of Alexandria, VA, Grace Alfarata Liddy of Fort Washington, MD, James Gordon Liddy of Fort Washington, MD, Thomas Purcell Liddy of Scottsdale, AZ and Raymond Joseph Liddy of Coronado, CA, twelve grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
Gordon was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Hoboken and West Caldwell, NJ. He attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in nearby Newark and earned a BA at Fordham University, graduating in 1952. After serving two years as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army, he returned to Fordham to study Law. He graduated as a member of the Fordham Law Review in 1957.
In September of 1957, he was sworn in as a Special Agent of the F.B.I. In November, Gordon and Frances married in St. Mary’s Church in Poughkeepsie, NY. Gordon served under J. Edgar Hoover and, at age 29, became the youngest Special Agent in Charge in the history of the Bureau. As Gordon and Frances’ family grew, he left the F.B.I. to practice law in Manhattan. It was not long before the urge for government service took him to Dutchess County, NY as a prosecutor. In 1966, he arrested Timothy Leary, the famed “counter-culture” guru (the two later became friends).
Gordon ran for Congress in 1968, lost a very close primary, but drew the attention of House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford, who recommended him to the Nixon campaign. Nixon’s victory brought Gordon and Frances to Washington, D.C. He served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury and later as a White House Aide. In November, 1971, the White House Counsel asked Liddy to design and run an intelligence operation for the 1972 Re-election campaign. To do so, Liddy would have to leave the government. He took a position at the Committee to Re-Elect the President . . . the result was what has come to be known as “Watergate.” Gordon refused to cooperate with prosecutors. He remained silent throughout the investigations and many trials, infuriating the prosecutors and Judge Sirica. They all thought they could make him talk by sentencing him to a total of 21 ½ years in prison. He laughed at them. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter ended the stand-off by ordering clemency, commuting Liddy’s sentence. In September, he was reunited with his family. Gordon had no regrets and took responsibility for his own actions.
Unsure of his professional future, he was surprised, and blessed, to learn how many Americans admired his strength and determination to live by his principles, even as many disagreed with him. For the next 32 years, Gordon was omnipresent in America's political and cultural conversation. His autobiography was the bestselling book in the world in 1980. As an author and lecturer he relished the opportunity to share his experiences and ideas with America’s college students.
Gordon had the greatest respect for the men and women who choose to serve in America’s armed forces and insisted that his public speaking contract had a clause, when he was asked to speak at West Point, The Naval Academy, the Air Force Academy or the Coast Guard Academy there would be no fee, he paid the agency fee out of his own pocket. In the 1990’s he launched a nationally syndicated radio show, providing him with the privilege of sharing ideas, stories and lessons with Americans for an additional 21 years on over 300 radio stations. As an author, lecturer, actor and radio talk show host, he again served his country, made a handsome living and had a lot of fun, often “agreeing to disagree.” For that opportunity, he was deeply grateful to the People of the greatest country on earth, the United States of America.
Family and friends are invited to Gordon’s Life Celebration on Tuesday, April 6 from 2pm to 4pm and 7pm to 9pm at the George P. Kalas Funeral Home, 6160 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, MD. Another viewing will be held April 8, 4-7pm at the Darrow Funeral Home, 39 South Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie, NY and funeral Mass on April 9 at 10 am at St. Mary’s Church at 231 Church Street in Poughkeepsie. Burial service to follow at St. Peter’s Cemetery, 147 Salt Point Road, Poughkeespie, NY. COVID protocols will be followed at all venues.
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