George Edward Gardner, age 83 of Murfreesboro TN passed away at 8:30 AM Monday, March 3 at St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital. He was a native of Indianapolis IN and was the son of the late Dorsey Mason Gardner and Daisy Lucas Gardner.
His wife of 57 years, Charlotte Gardner, sons Phillip and Carl Gardner, daughter-in-law Lidia Gardner and granddaughter Anna Gardner survive Mr. Gardner.
He was preceded in death by two brothers, Charles and Frank Gardner, and survived by one brother, Richard Gardner.
George had a remarkable life. He enlisted in the Navy on his 17th birthday and served during the Korean Conflict. After being discharged from the Navy, he enrolled at MTSC and graduated with a degree in Business in 1957. In 1958, George joined State Farm as a trainee, became a supervisor within weeks and retired as an agency director in 1994. For his outstanding service of 36 years George was inaugurated into the Tennessee Insurance Hall of Fame in 2013.
George was a devoted husband, loving father, a very best father-in-law and the most admired grandfather. He had contagious enthusiasm and persuasive optimism in everything he did.
He was an excellent leader in the local community. He received Murfreesboro Jaycees Man of the Year award in 1958, served as the director of the Miss Murfreesboro Pageant (1958,1959); deacon, Northminster Presbyterian and Hendersonville Presbyterian churches, elder First Presbyterian Church of Murfreesboro; president, Germantown High School PTA and Oakland High School Patriots Association; treasurer, Stones River Crafts fair; member and finance chairman, Rutherford county Bicentennial Commission; president, Murfreesboro Little Theater; president, board member and fundraiser for The Discovery Center (TDC). George was personally responsible for raising over $1.3 million for the new building on Broad street. He was named by the Mayor of Murfreesboro to serve as Murfreesboro’s personal representative to China. He and Charlotte led the Middle Tennessee Choral Society on two European concert tours.
George spent a lot of effort promoting his beloved Alma Mater, MTSU. He was a trustee and a chairman of the annual giving committee, secretary, vice president, National Alumni President, and 1986 MTSU Foundation president. Under George’s presidency the Foundation’s annual giving fund exceeded $1 million for the first time in its history. George conceived the idea of the Chair of Insurance; developed the second mile award; co-chaired MTSU’s 75th Anniversary Celebration in 1986. George was named a distinguished alumnus in 1989.
George and Charlotte established a Leadership Performance Scholarship fund at the MTSU to support young and talented students.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 15, 2014, at First Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro with Rev. John A. Hinkle officiating.
The family requests memorials be made to MTSU Foundation, Office of Development, P.O. Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132 or to The Discovery Center, 502 SE Broad St, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.
An online guestbook is available for Mr. George Gardner at www.woodfinchapel.com