By Renee Williams, Photo Credit: John Harpring


Karen Gordon, 47 is married to retired Army Officer Clarence Thomas and has four children, Ryanne, 26, Christopher, 26, Malcom, 25 and Daniel (Scooter), 8. Gordon is a professional musician and a member of Leadership Augusta (class of 2015 ambassador), Jessye Norman School of Arts, Greater Augusta Arts Council and the Downtown Advisory Panel. Gordon founded Garden City Jazz Series in 2003 and under her leadership, the program has launced several new projects, including art exhibits, print division, jazz camp and a community festival.

One word you would use to describe yourself: Spectacular.

If you could have any job, what would you choose? Ruler of the Universe but I am the Empress of Cool. Best job ever.

What quality do you most admire the most? Compassion. 

What’s your favorite food? Shrimp and Grits. 

Dream vacation? Cape Town International Jazz Festival.

Favorite place to take the kids? Music & Arts Festivals. 

Favorite TV show: This Is Us on NBC. 

What did you want to be when you grew up? Concert Pianist.

Hobbies? I am trying to start a vegetable garden.

Is there an important life lesson you’ve learned? That each of us has the opportunity to create the reality that we talk about.

What would surprise people about you? I’m a terrible dancer. I still do it though.

Best thing about being a mom? The hugs.

Hardest part about being a mom? Wanting to fix everything for your children so that they receive only the best, even if you can not give it to them. It is trying to find the balance between rescuing them and letting them figure things out so that they do not have to make the same bad choices you made…so that they do not have to suffer. Sometimes, it is just looking at the caller ID, whether at noon or midnight. It is wishing you had told them about all the foolishness you dealt with so they feel comfortable talking to you about their issues so that perhaps they will not put you up on a pedestal and view you as the all wise and powerful Oz, but instead as a regular so and so…STILL trying to figure it out…THAT RIGHT THERE… yeah…. that is it.

Favorite indulgence? Live music.

What was you first job? French Fry Artist at Burger King on Deans Bridge Road.

Whom do you admire the most? My mother, Lena Bell. She is a rockstar.

What are your reading right now? Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile.

Favorite subject in school? Music

Greatest hope: To leave this community better than I found it.

Biggest fear: That I will disappoint my family.

What inspires you? Seeing others pursue their dreams.

Song playing in your head: Derrell Said by Gray Mayfield

This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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