Obituary: Dorothy Jean Gardner

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Dorothy Gardner obit photoDorothy Jean Gardner, 92, of Unionville, Missouri, passed away peacefully at her home at Lake Thunderhead on Sunday, January 21, 2024, surrounded by her family.

She was born in Richmond Heights, Missouri, to George and Dorothy McGregor on July 20, 1931. She was baptized in the Kirkwood Presbyterian Church as an infant and later in the Kirksville Presbyterian Church in 1949. Jean lived in Kirkwood, Missouri, until the age of 16. Jean’s family then moved to Kirksville, Missouri, where she attended her senior year of high school. She attended Kirksville State Teacher’s College for two years and worked part-time in a dress shop and a jewelry store. Jean then attended the University of Missouri from 1950-1951 and worked as a secretary for the Dean of Students.

John (Jack) Gardner won her heart, and they wed on October 21, 1951. To this union, three children were born: Robert, Susan, and William. The family moved to Mexico, Missouri, in 1967, where Jack and Jean both worked for A.P. Green. Jack’s work took them to Louisville, Kentucky, and then on to Joppatowne, Maryland. Jean loved working as a secretary for the Guidance Department at Joppatowne High School.

In 1979, Jean and Jack moved to Unionville, Missouri, where she was actively involved in many activities: P.E.O., Sorosis, Putnam County Health Department, Putnam County Fair Committee, Lake Thunderhead Condo Board, the Laker Ladies, Widows on the Water, 20 Odd Club, and two bridge clubs.

Jean wore many different hats in her lifetime, including homemaker, Brownie, and Girl Scout leader, volunteer at the Putnam County Hospital, avid bird watcher, dog lover, goldfish guardian, book lover, and an amazing hostess for many dinner parties and family gatherings.

After the age of 80, she created a bucket list and completed everything on it, including tandem skydiving in Kirksville, flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, sailing over Putnam County in a hot air balloon, kissing a stingray, and marching with a flamingo parade in the Grand Cayman Islands.

She loved walking and visiting with friends and family. Most dear to her heart were her three children, six grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren, all of whom she was very proud and loved so much. She enjoyed traveling, going on many trips with her mother and sister, and also several cruises and road trips with her family. Her famous pecan pies will surely be missed.

Jean was preceded in death by her husband, Jack, in 1989. Loving memories of Jean will forever be treasured by those who survive: her sister, Joan McCollum of Oak Creek, WI; her son, Bob (Pam) Gardner of Fairview, TX; daughter, Susie (Gary) Smith of Colorado Springs, CO; and son, Bill (Cryssie) of Unionville, MO; her six grandchildren—Kristin Jimenez, Jennifer (Clay) Bouton Schaub, Lauren (Doug) Berry, Rachel (Patrick) Bouton Williams, Dustin (Rachele) Gardner, and Ashlen (Tyler) Busick; her great-grandchildren—Andrew, Amelia, Cecilia, William, Vera, Alivia, Nellie, Miriam, Dorothy, Spencer, Catherine, and George. The Earl Poole Family also held a special place in her heart. She is also survived by a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews from all around the country.

In lieu of flowers, she requested donations be made to the Adair County Humane Society, P.O. Box 481, Kirksville, MO 63501. Please make a note that the donation is in honor of Jean Gardner. A celebration of Jean’s life will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024. Details will be forthcoming. Please contact Playle & Collins Family Funeral Home for more information.

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