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Asheville - Avoider of bears, watcher of hummingbirds, lover of the music of Willie Nelson, abider of children's foibles, and survivor of tree falls on housetops, Anna Harris Gardner, 89, of Asheville, died at the John F. Keever, Jr. Solace Center in Asheville Wednesday, March 5 after a period of declining health.
She is survived by daughters, Diana Tockes and Peggy Gardner, and son, Jim Gardner Jr., all of Asheville; daughter-in-law, Nancy Alenier; son-in-law, Rick Moul; grandchildren, Michelle Tockes Leetham, Jakob Klodt, Anna Moul, and Irina Moul; and great-grandchildren, Devric Kiyota, Jasmin Tockes and Sarah Leetham. Her husband of 40 years, James T. Gardner, Sr., preceded her in death, as did her brother, Bill, and sister, Florence.
Daughter of Courtland Ernest Harris and Bertha Harris, Anna was born in Hamlet, NC. She graduated from high school in Pensacola, FL and worked briefly at the naval air base at Pensacola before marrying in 1945 and moving to Asheville. In addition to raising a family, she later worked as a teaching assistant at William Randolph School and as the first Town Clerk for Woodfin, NC.
"I don't want to be in the news," Anna said a few days before her death. Nevertheless, she offered the best news of all—unconditional love—to her immediate and extended family, which included people from around the globe.
Her caring, generous spirit is legendary among those who knew her, as is her sense of humor, which often manifested itself in superstitions and creative neologisms and malapropisms. "Thanks for unmixing me up," she told a roomful of family and friends gathered around her bedside last week.
The family is extremely grateful for the expert, compassionate care she received at the Heart Center at Mission Hospital and at Solace Center, and for the outpouring of support from family and friends.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00PM on Sunday, March 9, 2014 in the chapel of Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue with Reverend Howard Hanger officiating. The family will receive visitors an hour prior to the service at 2:00PM.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her name to CarePartners, 68 Sweeten Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28803, ABCCM, 30 Cumberland Ave, Asheville, NC 28801, Music Maker Relief Foundation, PO Box 1358, Hillsborough, NC 27278, or a
Morris Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through the website, www.morrisfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Morris Funeral Home
304 Merrimon Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Mar. 7, 2014