Marvin L. Gardner, age 100, of Moravia, passed away Monday, December 30, 2019 at Monroe County Hospital in Albia.
Moravia’s only 100-year-old resident was born on May 5, 1919, and was adopted by William and Ethel Gardner. His parents started Gardner Hatchery in the garage of their home on the property on the corner of South Brandon and Church Streets, where Marvin has lived his entire life.
A 1937 graduate of Moravia High School, Gardner married Elouise Walter on August 21, 1938 in Moravia, Iowa, and the young couple joined the family business. After the births of his first two children, daughters, Yvonne and Rita, Marvin was called to service in World War II. He entered the United States Army on July 6, 1944. On December 22, 1944, as a member of the 134th Infantry Regiment, Company C, Marvin and his fellow soldiers landed in France, and fought under General George S. Patton in the infamous Battle of the Bulge in 1945. He proudly served on the front lines during his entire military career, and was unable to be home for the birth of his third daughter, Linda. While overseas, he was involved in the Ardennes, Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns, earning the European African Middle Easter Theater Ribbon with 3 Bronze Battle Stars, the Good Conduct Medal, 1 overseas Service Bar, and the World War II Victory Medal. On September 5, 1945, Marvin returned home from the war to his family. After his faithful service, he was honorably discharged on November 5, 1945.
When Marvin returned home in 1945 after the war ended, a new partnership was formed, with Maurice “Friz” and Hilda Walter purchasing half interest in Gardner Hatchery. Friz and Elouise were brother and sister.
The Gardners welcomed son Dennis to the family in 1952. After the hatchery partnership ended in 1954, Marvin went on to do construction work and also traveled to Colorado to do sheep shearing with an Army buddy, Willie Sharp.
Over the years, Marvin’s interests included fishing, hunting, cars, playing pool at Kaster’s Pool Hall, and playing cards. He was especially adept at horseshoe pitching, and won many tournaments around the state. He has always been a proud member of the Amercian Legion. Animals, and especially dogs, have always held a special place in his heart, although he eventually had a cat named Tiger who is a beloved companion. He raised silver foxes as well. He had a special love for Chocolate pie.
Left to honor Marvin’s memory are his children, Yvonne (Paul) Horel of Olathe, KS, Rita (Maurice) Paradis of Kensington, CT, Linda (Paul) Witt of Centerville, and Dennis (Jennifer) Gardner of Moravia; as well as many grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren.
Marvin was preceded in death by his parents, William and Ethel Gardner; his wife, Elouise Gardner; and a grandson, Mike Pfannebecker.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30AM, Friday, January 3, 2020 at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia, with Pastor Ken Martin officiating. Military Rites will be conducted at the funeral home following the service. Visitation will take place from 8:00AM-10:30AM, Friday, January 3, 2020 at Lange Funeral Home in Moravia, with the family greeting friends from 10-10:30AM. Cremation will follow the funeral service. Memorials have been established to EveryStep Hospice, and may be dropped off or mailed to Lange Funeral Home and Crematory, 1900 South 18th Street, Centerville, Iowa 52544. Condolences may be shared online at www.langefh.com.
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