Bill Gardner passed peacefully in Williamsburg on Sunday April 14 with his wife Ursula (Sandy) at his side.
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Born to Karl Dana and Laura Borden Gardner in Albany, NY in 1921, he relocated to many cities as his father grew the W.T Grant Company and settled in Bronxville, N.Y. as Karl was promoted to the position of president.
Bill graduated from Culver Military Academy as Captain of the Black Horse Troop in 1940 and enrolled in Yale University, Class of 1944. In 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned to the Army Air Corps after pilot training at Ft. Riley, Ks, Chickasha, Ok and Pampa Tx. He flew twin-engine aircraft in the Pacific theater as a pilot and assistant operations officer for the 68th Troop Carrier Squadron. He was honorably discharged in 1945 at the rank of captain.
He returned to Yale, receiving a BS degree in mechanical and electrical engineering, with recognition as a member of St. Elmo's fraternity. While at Culver and Yale he excelled at track and cross country. At Yale, he gained notoriety by crossing the finish line simultaneously with two of his teammates, which was recognized in a widely publicized illustration in Ripley's Believe It or Not.
Bill started work at Ford in Dearborn, Mi. in 1946 at the Rouge Plant as a line supervisor. He quickly rose through the ranks.
He met his wife of 62 years, Sandy, in a ski lodge in northern Michigan and they were married in 1951. With a promotion, they relocated to Bay Village, Ohio and had a son, Fred, and daughter, Debby, one year later.
Bill joined the Cummins Diesel Co. and moved to Columbus, In. in 1957 as director of Manufacturing Services, responsible for the development and deployment of the machine tools used in diesel engine production. In Columbus, he was active in the Presbyterian Church, Kiwanis and member and avid golfer at the Harrison Lake Country Club.
He accepted the position of vice president and general manager of the Stanadyne Chicago Division in 1967 and moved to Wheaton, Il. At the Chicago Division he earned the respect and trust of the United Auto Workers by engaging the machine operators, and was known on the plant floor as a "good guy" who would work on the machine tools hands-on when they seemed unable to be set up correctly.
In Wheaton he was an avid golfer and member of the Chicago Golf Club, Presbyterian Church, Kiwanis, Board of Directors of the Chicago Area Boy's Club and Board Member of the DuPage County Hospital.
After retirement on 1986 Bill and Sandy moved to Kingsmill in Williamsburg. They joined the First Presbyterian Church and Kingsmill Club, and kept involved with Kiwanis.
Bill is survived by his wife, Sandy, son Fred Gardner, daughter Debby Bowman, and grandchildren Meghann Santanna, Molly White, Joshua Bowman and Sarah Bowman, and great grandsons Lucas Santanna and Augustine Bowman.
There will be a memorial service for William James Gardner at 2 p.m. on April 20 at the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Rd.
Published in Virginia Gazette from Apr. 17 to May 16, 2013