BENJAMIN E. GARDNER – 1929 - 2021. Born in Mesa, Arizona. Parents L. L. Gardner and Winnie E. LeBaron Gardner. He married Phyllis E. Millett in 1947. Ben was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. They had six children: Teresa (Rocky Wells), Connie (deceased), Ilene (Charles)(Deceased), Sheryl (Theron Bunker), Phil M., and Dean L. (Ronda Heidbrink). He has 123 descendants.
His siblings, who are all deceased, were: Nelda (Charles Conover), Lucius Levier Jr. (1. Edith Smith, 2. Cynthia Mallory), Zina (David Draper), Barbara (John Ellingson), James “Jim” (1. Ellen Henry 2. Dottye Owen), Robert, Richard (Colleen Heiner).
Ben graduated from Mesa High School in 1947. He was Senior Class President and played football, basketball and jumped the high hurdles in track. He majored in elementary education at Arizona State University earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree and graduated “with distinction.” He earned a letter there in gymnastics–his forte–doing giant swings on the high bar.
He taught sixth grade at Lincoln school for several years then received a 3 year National Defense Graduate Fellowship for study in Elementary Education at Arizona State University and became an Elementary School Principal in the Mesa Public Schools.
He was an Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm. As an adult he also served as a Scoutmaster.
In later life he and his wife, Phyllis, served five foreign missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and learned to speak the Spanish language. They served in Chile Viña del Mar Mission, Argentina Bahia Blanca Mission, Quito Ecuador Mission, England Missionary Training Center training Spanish speaking missionaries, and in the Canary Island Las Palmas Mission. They also served for seven years in the Liahona II Spanish-speaking ward in Mesa, and in the Mesa Family History Center. In addition they served as ordinance workers in the Mesa Arizona Temple.
The viewing will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 13, for an hour prior to the funeral which is to be held at 11:00 that morning. The viewing and funeral will be held in the Mesa Arizona Maricopa Stake building, 613 N. Stewart Street. Burial will be in the Mesa City Cemetery 1212 N Center St. immediately following the funeral.
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