Martha Gardner

Obituary
  • "Dear Gardner Family, Sorry for the loss of your mother. I..."
    - Judith Tallmon
  • "Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. May..."
    - Alvin L. & Barbara Magruder Hurt
  • "Martha was such a dear friend to so many people - I first..."
    - Sandra Goad Muns
  • "May this fine lady rest in peace. My condolences to the..."
    - John Boylan
  • - Toni Pinckard-Bailey

Martha Gardner Rice was born Martha Church on July 20, 1922 to George Milton and Kathryn Henrietta Church. Martha was born and raised in Vinton, Texas, where she attended Valley and El Paso High School. On November 12, 1938 at the age of 16 Martha married Robert Arden Gardner, a prominent rancher and farmer of El Paso County and the Mesilla Valley. They were married for 35 years during which time they raised six children. Mr. Gardner had two children from a former marriage, Virginia Gardner and Robert Arden "Bob" Gardner, Jr. Martha and Mr. Gardner then had four children of their own, Milton Jay, Charles William, Arden E. "Goober" and Martha Kay "Missy". While raising their children the Gardner family lived on the family owned and operated farm where they grew short and long staple cotton and alfalfa in the upper valley, and raised Hereford cattle in the Santa Teresa area. While instilling morals and family values in their children they attended St. Luke's Episcopal Church and attended many church and other related social events. The family often spent time at Beaverhead in the Gila Forrest tending to their cattle as well. Martha was an active member of the Women's Aladdin Club as well as the St. Luke's women's group and choir. After the passing of Mr. Gardner in November, 1973, Martha became involved with Providence Hospital volunteer program serving as President in 1977-78. She was also a member of the Marfa Production Credit Association, Board member of the American Heart Association and served on the Church Vestry at St. Luke's. Martha then met and married the Reverend Dr. Kenneth Rice in February, 1979. She sold and moved off the farm but continued to live in El Paso, Texas. She began traveling, visiting such places as Hawaii, the Holy Lands, London, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Australia, Austria, China and many other destinations. In April, 1988 the Reverend Dr. Rice passed away. Martha continued to be a volunteer at Providence Hospital until the early 2000's. Martha Gardner Rice was called home on April 19, 2008. Martha was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers, Gordon and Charles Church; sister, Gardenia; her step-daughter, Virginia; and her son Charles. She is survived by Virginia's three daughters and her grandchildren; her step-son Bob (Barbara Ann), their four children, spouses and their grandchildren; son Jay (Linda), their three children, their spouses and their seven grandchildren; Betty Gardner Tyree, mother of Charles' their three children, their spouses and their six grandchildren; son Goober (Sandra), their two children, spouse and their two grandchildren; daughter Missy, George Eads, father of her two children, spouse and their two grandchildren as well as her sister-in-law Margaret Church, niece Barbara, son and (Bobby) Scott; and nephew Conrad (Kathy) Hibbert. Visitation will be held Tuesday, April 22, 2008 from 6:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Martin Funeral Home West. A Funeral Service will be held on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 12:30 P.M. at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 7050 McNutt Rd. in La Union, NM. Memorial contributions may be made in the name of Martha Gardner Rice, marked for "Research," to the Alzheimer's Association, 4400 N. Mesa, Suite 9, El Paso, TX 79902. Interment will follow at Memory Gardens of the Valley in Santa Teresa, NM. Services entrusted to Martin Funeral Home West, 128 N. Resler, El Paso, Texas 79912.
Published in El Paso Times from Apr. 22 to Apr. 27, 2008
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