Mary Jo Gardner
Mary Jo Gardner, 94, a long-time resident of Belen, died at home on Thursday, June 20, in Albuquerque. She was born on June 18, 1908, in LaFatte, Ala. She moved with her family to Anson, Texas, when she was 13-years-old. After graduating from Anson High School in 1926, she attended Abilene Christian College, receiving her teaching certificate for Texas. In 1928, she moved to Swenson, Texas, where she began her teaching career. She taught in Texas for ten years. While in Swenson, she wed J.T. Gardner. In 1945, J.T. was transferred by the railroad to Belen, where Gardner taught school in the winter and worked toward her teaching degree in the summer. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande in 1950. She taught elementary school for 28 years in the Belen School District, retiring in 1972. Gardner took pride in knowing that, during her 38-year teaching career, she touched several generations of students. Some of her honors as an educator included being inducted into the Central District NEA, New Mexico Hall of Fame in 1975 and being listed in "Who's Who of American Women" in the 12th Edition of 1981-82. Gardner was active in many civic organizations, including Eastern Star, Masonic Widows, Retired Teachers Association, AARP Local and the Belen Pilot Club. She was also involved in the American Association of University Women, Friends to the Library, Extension Homemakers, Alkali Anns Garden Club and the Historical Society. She was also an active member of the First Baptist Church of Belen. She was preceded in death by her husband, J.T. Gardner; a daughter, Rozanne Gardner Jones; and her infant son; and a grandson, Jerry Don Gardner. Survivors include sons Joe Ben Gardner and his wife, Sue, of Albuquerque, and Jerry Gardner of Veguita; granddaughter Sherri Jackson and her husband, Bob, and their children, Derrick, Matt, and Natalie, of Albuquerque; grandsons Billy Don Jones of Oregon, Frank Gardner and his wife, Anna, and their daughter, Raelyn, of Lovington, Casey Gardner and his wife, Jeanette, and their children J.T., Levi and Wyatt, of Grandprairie, Texas; and granddaughter, Rozanne Gardner Johnson and her husband, James, of Lovington. Cremation has taken place. Memorial services for Gardner will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, at the First Baptist Church of Belen with Pastor Bruce Baker officiating. A private burial with the family in attendance will take place at a later time at the Terrace Grove Cemetery in Belen. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Delta Hospice of Albuquerque or the Boys and Girls Ranch of New Mexico. Arrangements by Riverside Funeral Home in Belen.
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