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Willis Warren Gardner


1931 - 2013 | Notice Condolences
Willis Warren Gardner Notice
Gardner, Willis Warren A former vice president at Waukesha Bearings, died Nov. 19, 2013, in Oconomowoc, after battling cancer. He was 82 years old. Willis was born May 25, 1931 in Monmouth, IL. In 1953 he graduated from Purdue University with a bachelor of science degree with highest distinction in mechanical engineering. UW-Milwaukee awarded him a master's degree in engineering. Following active military duty in Germany, Willis was hired in 1956 as a mechanical engineer at the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company and later at Borg Warner Corporation in Des Plaines, IL. In 1960 Willis began his long career with Waukesha Bearings Corporation as an assistant chief engineer. He rose to be a vice president until his retirement in 1998. His work included designing seal bearings for major hydroelectric turbines, generators and for U.S. Naval submarines. He held 24 patents. Waukesha Bearings honored him in 2001 for his contributions to fluid film bearing technology by establishing the Willis W. Gardner Technology Center, a research and development facility in Pewaukee. He has also been honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Purdue University, which presented him with the Outstanding Mechanical Engineer award in 2009. Willis served on the Waukesha Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Waukesha for 44 years. Willis and Marilyn Joyce Hilsenhoff were married for more than 60 years until her death in September 2013. Willis is survived by two children, Charles (Patricia Sandrock) of Waukesha, and Sarah (James Bowie) of Culver City, CA; two sisters, Celinda Del Zotto of Lakewood, CO, and Imogene Holiday of Albuquerque, NM, and his grandchildren, John, Nora, Julia and Eli. A memorial service for Willis will be held on Feb. 15, 2014, at First United Methodist Church in Waukesha. Visitation will be held from 10:30AM until the time of the 11:30AM service. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the at www.cancer.org/donate.
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Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Nov. 24, 2013
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