Veda J. Gardner
ASHLAND: Veda J. Gardner died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends on Saturday, May 18, 2013, at her Bradford House home, Brethren Care Center, Ashland, OH.
She was born in Columbus, Ohio on February 15, 1926 to Forest and Mabel Shoemaker. She met her husband, Richard Gardner, in high school and they became sweethearts. Dick and Veda were married in 1945 before he was shipped overseas. During that time, Veda worked in Washington, D.C. for the War Department doing encryption, with top secret clearance.
After the war, she and Dick returned to Athens where, in 1947, Veda earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ohio University. Veda was active in the Chi Omega Sorority at both the college and local levels. They raised their family in Mansfield - a son, Rick and daughter, Leslie. Veda's teaching career began in 1948 in Shiloh, Ohio where she taught vocal music. She returned to school at OU in order to become certified in English. Veda taught for 30 years and had classrooms at Appleseed Junior High, Mansfield Senior High, and Malabar High School.
Veda's faith was extremely important to her. As a devout Christian, she and Dick were active in ministry through First Presbyterian Church. She sang in the choir, participated in the Stephen's ministry, and hosted home group Bible studies. Over the years, Veda and Dick also supported the Grace Fellowship Church. She was a member of the Linden Road Presbyterian Church.
Veda and Dick loved to travel and visited every continent. They were part of a group of educators who were among the first U.S. citizens to go to China.
Veda volunteered at the MedCentral Gift Shop and Renaissance Theater. She enjoyed playing bridge, and dancing with Dick at the Pandora Club. As part of the Mansfield Sister City Program, she and her husband hosted students and adults from Tamura, Japan and participated in the broader Sister City activities.
On May 7, 2013 Veda was honored with the Woman of the Year Award from the Mansfield Branch of AAUW following 65 years of membership including positions of leadership.
Veda was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 66 years, son, Rick, and her brother, Richard Shoemaker.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Leslie Gardner and Bill Stevens; sister-in-law, Rieta Shoemaker; and many nieces and nephews and their children.
A celebration of her life will be held June 29, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. at the Linden Road Presbyterian Church with Pastor Andrew Gearhart. Friends may call an hour before the service. Wappner Funeral Directors is privileged to serve the family of Veda J. Gardner.
Memorial contributions may be made to Mansfield Hospital Auxiliary.
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