Hollis E. “Gene” Gardner and Joan Pierson Gardner were married at Johnson Memorial (United) Methodist Church on March 5, 1947. They were faithful members of the church throughout their lifetimes, rarely missing a Sunday until Gene’s death in 2011 and Joan’s death in 2019. They raised their four children, Anita, Gene, Ron, and Greg, in the church. Joan and Gene were members of their beloved E.T. Jones Sunday school class from the time they got married and for the rest of their lives—that’s 72 years for Joan. Gene spent his career with C & P Telephone Company of West Virginia (later Verizon). An avid golfer, he mentored many young golfers, always emphasizing the etiquette of the game. Joan was an incredible cook and seamstress who was often a home room mother or Camp Fire Girls leader.
Their daughter, Anita Gardner Farrell, a lifelong member of Johnson Memorial, said she cannot remember a time when their family ever stayed home from church. “If it snowed, Dad put chains on the car and off we'd go.”
Joan served as a teacher in the Sunday school and Bible school programs and the United Methodist Women. For a time, she was employed as Church Hostess providing many delicious meals. Gene was active in the Andrew's Brothers men’s group and helped with the sound system. In retirement, he served on mission and outreach teams that did disaster recovery and Habitat for Humanity projects. Always with a special place in their hearts for people living on the margins, in their later years, Joan and Gene both worked with the team that led the Common Grounds ministry at Johnson Memorial, providing free meals and fellowship for all who would come.
Recognizing how blessed she and her brothers are to have had such loving, generous parents, Anita decided the best way to honor their legacy was with an endowment that would provide a permanent financial resource for Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church. When the family home was sold after Joan’s death, Anita Gardner Farrell contacted Jeff Taylor to see how she could honor her parents’ memory and help her church.
The Hollis E. “Gene” Gardner and Joan Pierson Gardner Memorial Endowment Fund distributes annually to the church to support the general budget and two specific outreach ministries that were dear to her parents.
Consider the possibilities of how you can honor your loved one’s memory by creating a permanent endowment at The Foundation.