Edgar Everett Gardner Jr. - age: 94
(April 27, 1927 to April 04, 2022
A celebration of life service will be held June 25th at 11:00 AM at First Parish Congregational Church, 12 Beech Street, Saco, ME. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Saco Food Pantry or Mary’s Walk.
SACO- Edgar Everett Gardner Jr. died April 4, 2022, 3 weeks shy of his 95th birthday after a short illness. He was born a twin in 1927 in Meriden to Edgar and Edith (Fuller) Gardner and his first home was the family farm in Wallingford, Connecticut. If asked if he was an identical twin he would get irritated. His twin sister Gertrude (Trudy) Gardner Beck predeceased him.
He met his wife Joyce (Parsloe) of Boston on a blind date at the Cleveland Indians versus Boston Red Sox Baseball Game in Cleveland where she was a social worker and where he worked for Ford Motor Company. He lived at the University Club while working on his Master’s Degree at Case Western Reserve. She claimed she didn’t like him much on the first date, but they went on to celebrate 62 years of marriage. She predeceased him.
He enlisted in the Army at age 17 in July of 1944 and served until February 1947. Prior to his deployment he was assigned to Yale University, the University of Connecticut and Norwich University. He arrived in England at the White Cliffs of Dover the day WWII was over. He related that many yelled to turn the boat around, he knew his job would be to serve as Company Clerk to the Occupation Troops from Salzburg, Austria. After returning home he enrolled at Yale and graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Ed loved music, participating in his high school glee club, Church Choirs, and Gilbert and Sullivan plays. Much to the embarrassment of his children when they were younger, the family would sing in the car wherever they traveled. In the last weeks of his life he sang songs to his nurses and CNAs and his visiting children much to their delight.
Ed embraced new hobbies with a vengeance including sailing, wood working, wood carving, bread making and vegetable gardening. His blind garden was featured in the Saco garden tour. An early hobby was photography, especially wildflowers. Traveling 60 miles an hour on the highway, he would spot something out the corner of his eye, yell out an identification like ‘rattle snake orchids” and back up the car a quarter of a mile so he could dig out his camera. For many years Ed and Joyce traveled around Ohio giving Wildflower talks to various nature clubs.
Ed was involved in many community activities. Ed and Joyce were instrumental in establishing the Kite Festival in Willoughby, Ohio which still is celebrated annually. He volunteered for the Saco Food Pantry, and walked 2-3 miles a day to prepare for the Mary’s Walk to raise money for Cancer Research. He served on the Saco Conservation Commission.
Ed loved sailing, salt water fishing and canoeing. In Ohio canoeing was a regular weekend family adventure, often canoeing the Grand River. Ed was instrumental in forming a group with other nature lovers and canoers, including his good friend Dave Ulrich to save the river. In 1974, 56 miles of the river were designated as Wild and Scenic assuring the area would be preserved forever. Ed heard of people sledding using their canoes and snow shovels for paddles. All went well until Ed hit a snow bank and broke some fingers resulting in a trip to the hospital. It must have been a slow news night as a local reporter called to interview him, but thinking it was friend David Ulrich pretending to be a reporter, hung up the phone several times. The story was published the next day. After moving to Nashua, NH he again took up canoeing, but this time embraced racing. He participated in Doubles and Triathlons completing the canoeing leg. On his 50th birthday he won the Run of the Charles canoe race in the Master category.
In later years Ed suffered from Macular Degeneration and went blind and as he described it he “wasn’t in the dark”. He still gardened, mowed the lawn with the aid of dandelions and read. He utilized the National Library’s talking books for the blind. At last count he had read more than 800 books.
Ed is survived by his children: Patricia (Tish) Gardner of Boston, MA and Northport, Maine; Ellen Lawson and her Husband Monte of Colorado Springs, Colorado and Ned Gardner and wife Laura (Gump) of Morristown, NJ. Also by his beloved Granddaughters Melinda Lawson; Holly Lawson and her husband Damon Thomas of Colorado; and Alyson Gardner Jarvis and her Husband Greg and two great grandchildren of Georgia.