Joyce P. Gardner - age: 85
(April 25, 1931 to February 11, 2017
A memorial service celebrating Joyce’s life will be held at the First Parish Congregational Church March 18 at 1:00 pm. A reception will follow the service. Dennett, Craig & Pate Funeral Home, 365 Main Street, Saco has been entrusted with the services. In Lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Joyce’s name to the First Parish United Church of Christ 12 Beach St, Saco, ME 04072 www.firstparishsaco.org or Saco Food Pantry 67 Ocean Park Rd, Saco, ME 04072 www.sacofoodpantry.org
Joyce P Gardner died after a long illness in Saco, Maine on February 11, 2017. Born in Boston the daughter of Minerva (Mason) and George Parsloe of Milton, MA and Bayside Maine. She was the middle child of nine children. She attended Milton High School. She was a graduate of Berea College and remained a member of the Maine Alumnae Group, which met annually at graduates’ homes. She had a degree in social work and her first job was at a settlement house in Cleveland.
It was there that she met and married her husband Edgar Gardner who she met on a blind date at a Cleveland Indians baseball game. They first settled and had their children in Mayfield Heights, Ohio and later moved to Willoughby, Ohio. She and Ed were active in the Burroughs Nature Club. Ed was an accomplished amateur wildflower photographer and Joyce identified their flower finds. Together they gave talks to various nature clubs. It wasn’t unusual to be traveling on the highway and for one or the other of them to call out a rare wildflower and back up along the highway so it could be identified and photographed. It was in Ohio where they raised their three children in whom they installed a love of nature and gardening. Joyce went back to school and was a substitute teacher and later a special education teacher at Willoughby South High School. She was named Women of the Year by the Local Newspaper for her various volunteer services and activities. She was a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader. She, along with Ed was instrumental in establishing an annual kite festival, which continues to this day.
They later relocated to Nashua NH, where she taught in a Catholic Elementary School and again established a beautiful garden and continued volunteering at church and various originations.
Since her earliest years, she spent her summers in Bayside, Maine. The Gardner family traveled almost every summer from Ohio to Maine to visit with relatives and wait out an Acadia Park kind of day for their annual trek. These road trips were always accompanied by musical duets while their children suffered in embarrassment from the back seat. She and Ed had always wanted to live in Maine and when the opportunity came, they moved to Biddeford, to a house along the Saco River, where they could enjoy eagles, seals and birds along the shore and of course have her beautiful gardens. She continued her teaching career in the Maine school system teaching English as a second language. She was active in her Church including the Women’s Association, the church fairs and singing in the choir.
They later moved to Saco where she once again established beautiful gardens, which were featured in the annual garden tour. She was on the board of directors of the Senior College, and on the board of the Saco Food Pantry. Ed by this time was going blind but he faithfully kept the bird feeders filled so she could sit at the kitchen table and enjoy the visiting birds and wildlife.
Joyce is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Ed Gardner, her three children Patricia (Tish) Gardner of Boston, Ellen Lawson and her husband Monte of Colorado, Ned Gardner and his wife Laura (Gump) of New Jersey. Her grandchildren were the joy of her life. She is survived by Melinda Lawson, and Holly Lawson of Colorado; Alyson Gardner Jarvis and her husband Greg of Georgia; her future great grandchild currently known as the Jarvis bump and her brother Richard Parsloe; sisters June Seamans and Jane Haverty