BYRON "BARNEY" PATTON GARDNER
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Byron Patton Gardner, born Jan 23, 1928, in Ripley, TN and died peacefully on March 7, 2014, in Green Valley, AZ. Known to his friends as Barney, he was born to Hilda (nee Patton) and Milo F. Gardner.
Barney attended Tennessee State University before joining the Navy. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Electronics School (where he graduated first in his class), he served his country in the Korean War on the U.S.S. Fletcher. After his military service he was recruited by Philco (later Philco-Ford) as a technical representative to the U.S. Navy in Japan, where he met his wife Claire, a civil service librarian working with the armed forces.
He and Claire moved to Hawaii, where Barney completed a BS in Mathematics from the University of Hawaii. Barney's career with Philco-Ford and corporate Ford Motor Co. took the couple to California, Texas, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and again Michigan before they retired to Green Valley, Ariz. in 1979.
Barney was proudest of his service to the NASA Space Program. He managed the technical operations for Houston Space Control Center and was also the program manager for space systems. His work included the installation of tracking stations in Ecuador, Chile, Seychelles Islands, Greenland and Hawaii and building the computer systems for the Apollo and Gemini space programs. From 1969-1970 he was appointed the acting director of the National Alliance of Businessmen in Washington D.C., then from 1970-1972 design analysis manager for the Ford Design Center in Dearborn, Mi. From 1972-1974 Barney was the general manager, for Philco-Ford subsidiary company Telesound Inc., and lastly he served as business planning manager, Ford Motor Company Climate Control Division from 1974 until his retirement in 1979.
After his retirement he and Claire traveled the world, visiting all seven continents including over 120 countries. Barney also served as an International Executive Service Corps volunteer from 1995-1997 involving three sojourns to Russia where he prepared a program plan for the largest air control radar enterprise in Russia and negotiated a development plan between the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the premier producer of large antennas in Russia.
Over the course of his life, Barney was an avid golfer, tennis player, classic car enthusiast and birder as well as a skilled woodcarver and jeweler. Barney loved his Apple computer products and always stayed current with every new addition. He was the ultimate handy man who always had a long "Honey-Do" list. He loved to regale his friends with colorful stories about his childhood in the South, his career and his amazing travels. Barney was a fierce Democrat and was firm is his political beliefs. He was a kind, honest, loyal and giving man who always tried to help those in need around him.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Claire Gardner of Green Valley; his son Scott Gardner of San Diego, CA; his daughter Kerry Ann Gardner of El Paso, TX; dear friends Ernie and Deby Cox of Green Valley; his sister Patricia Gardner Veglio of Memphis, TN; niece Kit Klinke Sherrill of Birmingham, MI and his nephew Jeffrey Patton Klinke of Memphis. To acknowledge the kind men and women in San Diego who helped Barney with his LVAD device, donations may be made in Barney's name to the Sharp Healthcare Foundation (https://www.sharp.com/sharp-foundation/tribute.cfm).
Barney was cremated. No services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Sharp Healthcare Foundation (https://www.sharp.com/sharp-foundation/tribute.cfm).
Published in Green Valley News & Sun on Mar. 12, 2014