William Franklin Gardner, Jr. died at the age of 78 following a short illness on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at Madison County Memorial Hospital. He had three great loves in his life: his family, his role as an art educator, and his garden.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Tonia Scanlon; his son, William Franklin (Gard) Gardner III, (Michelle Bolster) of Bloomington, In; his daughter, Allyson Georgeanna Popp of Jacksonville, Fl.; grandchildren: Lucas William Gardner, Jilliyn Alexis Gardner, Lydia Ann Gardner, Matthew Gardner Popp and Emily Alexandria Popp; and two sisters-in-law, Mary Jeanette Scanlon and Josephine DeVincenzi.
Dr. Gardner earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees of Arts from the University of Maryland where he was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity and the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and Marching Band. He also played for the Baltimore Colts Band, music venues throughout the greater Annapolis-Washington area for many years, and led his own Dixieland Band. He received a Doctorate in Education from Nova University.
Beginning in 1961, Dr. Gardner taught art in the Annapolis, Md. area, served as a Music Specialist for the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and served in the U.S Army on active duty and in the U.S. Army Reserves. In 1971, he came to Florida to direct the Stephen Foster Humanities Center and taught art history and humanities at Lake City Community College. For twenty-nine years, he was a professor at North Florida Junior College where he taught art, directed gallery exhibits and senior art programs, established a six county high school art festival and served as chairman of the Arts and Humanities Department. He was awarded the NFJC Apple Award for exceptional commitment to the college and was presented the Florida Art Education Association’s “Friend of Art Education” Award.
Dr. Gardner was an avid football fan, member of the Madison Lodge #11 and the Madison Country Club. Through the years, along with sharing his piano playing with family and friends, he enjoyed sharing the fruits of his garden—pumpkins, luffa, and flowers.
Funeral services were held in the chapel on Tuesday, Dec. 27 at 11 a.m. in the Beggs Funeral Home-Madison Chapel in Madison, Fl. Visitation was held one hour prior to the service from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the First United Methodist Church, Children’s Home, 348 SW Rutledge St., Madison, Fl. 32340.