Gordon Kunke was born in 1922. He grew up on a small farm just outside of Turner, Oregon with his parents and sister.
Gordon was a 2 sport athlete in high school – basketball and baseball. In 1941, he pursued playing baseball at Willamette University. Then in 1942 he joined the United States Navy. After 4 years of service, he returned to Willamette University to complete his education.
He landed his first teaching job in Sherman County in the small town of Morrow, Oregon. There he taught math and coached football, basketball and baseball.
Gordon moved to Dallas in 1949 when he was hired as a teacher and boy’s basketball coach at the local high school. Gordon taught mathematics, health and physical education; he loved teaching calculus and trigonometry! Those were elective classes so he was quite impressed with student’s desires to challenge themselves academically.
Holding the title “coach” was a great honor. In addition to coaching basketball for eleven years, Gordon was the head baseball coach for nine years and assisted Ken Jacobson coaching football. Gordon was a wonderful mentor to countless student-athletes and had the privilege to influence them in a positive way.
When the new high school was built, Gordon was an integral part of setting up the gym. He and his team helped lay the floor because he wanted them to personally be part of something great. The first basketball game played in the new gym was in January 1954, which is still home to the Dallas Dragons today.
Gordon’s basketball teams won five Willamette Conference titles and finished 2nd four times during a nine-year stretch in the 1950’s. His 1958 squad won the Class 2A state title. He and his state championship basketball team were inducted into the Dallas Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. The high school gymnasium was named Kunke Court in 2013.
Gordon served Dallas School District for 35 years. He became the High School Vice Principal in 1957 and then principal in 1960. (He was the only administrator to simultaneously coach as well.) In 1964, Gordon was named Assistant Superintendent for the Dallas School District. He was hired as Superintendent in 1970 where he served the district and his community until he retired in 1984.
Gordon and his wife Marian have been married for 65 years. They reside in their same home where they raised their 4 children, Steve, Lori, Terry and Tom.