Dr. Fred A Gardner
November 23, 1927 – February 11, 2018
Dr. Fred A. Gardner of College Station, TX, died on Sunday, February 11th, 2018, surrounded by his family. He was born on November 23, 1927 to Maud and Fred Gardner, In Middletown Springs, Vermont. A visitation will be held on Sunday, February 18, 2018, at Hillier Funeral Home, 4080 Highway 6 South, College Station, TX, from 5pm to 7pm. The funeral service will be at 10am on Monday, February 19, 2018, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 906 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX.
From a very early age, Fred was involved in church. He was baptized at the age of 3, on May 3, 1931, at Fourth Ave. Methodist Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, NY. He was confirmed on May 6, 1956 at St. John’s by the Campus Church, in Ames, Iowa. Fred was an original member of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, starting in 1953 until his passing this month. Fred and his wife, Margaret, held many ministry positions over their years with St. Thomas Church. From Sunday school teacher to Vestry Member to Senior Warden, providing meals to Canterbury and serving on various hospitality committees, they embraced their lives as servants of Christ. Fred and Marge mentored endless families and friends in exemplifying the life of Christian servanthood. Fred and Marge ensured that their children were baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal Church. Everyone who was blessed to know Fred and Marge knew their favorite scripture of 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Fred graduated from Fort Hamilton HS in Brooklyn, NY, in 1945. He enlisted in the United States Navy, completed boot camp in Bainbridge, Maryland, and was transferred to the US Naval training center in San Diego, California. He completed radar training at Point Loma, California. From there, he was placed in a two man train-draft to the Banana River Naval Air Station, in Melborne, Florida, for additional training in Ground Controlled Approach Systems (GCAS), a new use of radar to assist aircraft into safe landings in extremely inclement weather conditions. Fred was transferred to the GCA unit at Fort Bennet Naval Air Station in New York in 1946, and then transferred again in 1947 to Squantum Naval Air Station, just outside of Boston, to improve its operational efficiency. Finally, in April of 1948, Fred was granted a 48 hour leave from the base. Fred and a buddy ventured into Boston for fun, and found the Seamen’s Club of Boston, an extension of the Episcopal Diocese of Boston. With his buddy being Roman Catholic and Fred a Presbyterian, they initially had reservations. Thankfully, they overcame their concerns and accepted the invitation to dance without worry of religion. On their second liberty, they returned again to the Seaman’s Club of Boston. On this special day, Fred was able to start the night dancing with Margaret Sarah Parsons, a truly beautiful girl and an absolutely great dancer. Another problem developed as Margaret was a hostess for the dance and was obligated to dance with many other sailors. Dancing with Margaret at the Seaman’s Club of Boston had started to turn his life upside down. He couldn’t wait until the next Friday. Fred was “Captivated in Boston” and loved every minute. Their romance evolved into an engagement on September 4, 1948, followed by his honorable discharge from the US Navy on November 24, 1948.
Fred married his true love, Margaret, on August 6, 1949, at Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, Massachusetts, and their journey together as a family began. They were married for 59 years, until her death in 2008. Fred and Margaret were blessed with six children. Family was always the center of their lives. From birthdays to anniversaries to vacations to main events – family was the focus.
Fred received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont in 1953 and his Masters degree in Poultry Science, from Texas A&M College, in 1955. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in 1959 and began his career with Texas A&M College. He retired as Professor Emeritus from Texas A&M University in 1990, after 31 years of teaching and research. He had the honor of working with many people in his career and impacting the lives of countless students. In additional to his own education, Marge and Fred ensured that all six of their children graduated from college and four with advanced degrees. Many grandchildren are following in their footsteps.
Fred is survived by his six children, Kristen Heeter and husband, Bill, of Tomball, TX; Nancy Mills and husband, Jere, of College Station; David Gardner and wife, Julia, of College Station; Janet Gardner of Dallas, TX; Paul Gardner and wife, Cindy, of Rockwall, TX; and Mark Gardner and wife, Jillayne, of Rockwall, TX; fourteen grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. Survivors also include Fred’s cousin Donald Rogers and wife Helen, of Bennington, VT; many nieces, nephews, and his wife Katherine Wood Gardner, of College Station.