John F. Gardner Jr., 73, passed away unexpectedly Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016 while on vacation with his family in Vermont. John was the son of Emily Byers Gardner and John Flay Gardner Sr. of Shelby.
He was a member of Grace Episcopal Church for 40 years, where he served as a vestry member, a singer in the choir and a Warden of the Church.
John worked at Whiteville Plywood Company for 38 years, and after his retirement in 2014, he became a volunteer at Columbus Regional Healthcare, where he found endless joy helping patients and making his hospital friends laugh. John also belonged to Whiteville Country Club for 40 years, and while his golf game never seemed to improve, he made many of the dearest friends of his life. John loved running, biking, golf, all things fitness, spending time with his family, and watching Duke basketball. His greatest joy came from helping others — from members of the church, to patients in the hospital, to friends in need, to complete strangers. On the day of John’s passing, he told his children that he couldn’t remember being happier at any time in his life.
A visitation will be held on from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 at Grace Episcopal Church. A funeral service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 at Whiteville United Methodist Church. McKenzie Mortuary is handling the arrangements.
John is survived by Sharon N. Gardner, his loving wife of 45 years; and four adoring children, Jennifer Gardner Levy (husband Mike) of Washington, D.C., Elizabeth Gardner Hinshaw (husband Todd), Katie Gardner Lomax (husband Lance) and John F. Gardner III (wife Lauren), all of Wilmington. John’s spirit will also live on in his seven beautiful grandchildren; and his dear sister, Jane Jordan and brother-in-law, Joe Jordan of Raleigh. John’s extended family includes much of the Whiteville community.
In lieu of flowers and plants, his family asks that friends consider making a donation to Grace Episcopal Church, 105 S. Madison Street, Whiteville, N.C. 28472 or to Columbus Regional Healthcare System Auxiliary, 500 Jefferson Street, Whiteville, N.C. 28472. Foundation in honor of John Gardner Jr.