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Dr. Alf Jordan

Date of Death: April 5, 2018

Date of Birth: February 8, 1940


Samuel Johnson wrote, "Curiosity is, in great and generous minds, the first passion and the last." For Dr. Alf Jordan, it was his love of books that was the most striking physical reflection of his intense curiosity and intellectual strength. So perhaps it was fitting that it was in his Yarmouth, Maine home library where he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on April 5th, 2018.Alf began life in New York, New York. Born February 8, 1940, he was the middle child of Valdemar Jordan and Frances (née Cobb) Jordan. His family soon moved to Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where he attended Hawken School. After completing college preparatory work at Taft School in 1958, he began studies at Yale University. He graduated from Yale in 1962 with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy.In August 1963, he married another Cleveland area native, Ann Osborne Coulton.Alf's post-college career began in retail and in stock brokerage, but he soon shifted to medicine. In 1966, he entered medical school at Case Western Reserve University. In 1970, he graduated from medical school and began his years of residencies in both General and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at University Hospitals of Cleveland.In 1976, upon completing his residencies, he moved his wife and family—including children Erik, Sarah (now Beimers), Valdemar, Julie (now Maxham)—from Cleveland Heights to Sioux City, Iowa. In Sioux City, he established himself in private practice and was, at the time, the only plastic surgeon in western Iowa.His community involvement and contributions were not limited to medicine, however. He served as a board member for Western Iowa Technical Community College and was a long-time financial supporter of the regional public radio station KWIT.His professional career was cut short by a stroke in 1985. Following a brief recovery, he relocated with his wife and two younger children to his beloved Maine. Since 1985, Alf and his wife Ann have resided in Yarmouth, Maine.Throughout his life, in addition to his roles as physician and father, Alf was a connoisseur of many and varied interests, taking great refuge and joy in these pursuits. His interests and hobbies ranged from the general, such as history, to the specific, such as his life-long project to research the history of the United States railroads. He had a deep appreciation for and extensive knowledge of music, especially classical and American folk. He was an early adopter of the personal computer, assembling and soldering a home PC from a kit in 1978. In the arena of cartographic interests Alf spent most of his adult life collecting and building his own personal library of rare atlases and maps and also served for many years as Secretary-Treasurer of the University of Southern Maine's Friends of the Osher Map Library.In these pursuits, Alf always strove to understand why things are the way they are, how things work, and the physical artifacts that persist in human-built environment: he was intrigued by the forces and structures lie beneath the easy facades of history and modern life. Alf brought these interests and knowledge, along with his wit and great charm, into the lives of those around him— in the form of education, conversation, or an eagerness to set things straight.Probably the most significant legacy of Alf's rich and varied interests is the effect it had on his children and grandchildren. His many pursuits have trickled down into the professional and intellectual lives of his descendents, leading them to follow their passions and excel in the areas of technology, geography, cartography, history, photography, and music. It will be through this legacy that the world will continue to feel—and benefit from—Alf's rich life.Alf was preceded in death by his parents Valdemar Jordan and Frances Cobb Jordan, and sister Jennifer Jordan Cline.Alf is survived by wife Ann; sister Julie Jordan Drennan (Jim) of Albuquerque, NM; son Erik (Laura Park) of St. Paul, MN, daughter Sarah Beimers (David) of Northfield, MN; son Valdemar (Alene Pearson) of Albany, CA; daughter Julie Maxham (John) of Wilmette, IL; and nine grandchildren. A gathering to celebrate Alf's life is planned for family later this summer. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Friends of the Osher Map Library, at the University of Southern Maine, in Alf's name.


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