Russell William Gardner served in the U.S. Army.
Gardner died April 4, 2012. He was 87.
He was born on May 7, 1924, to James and Marie Gardner.
Gardner was raised in South Philadelphia and he received his formal education in the Philadelphia Public School System. He was baptized by Rev. James E. Kirkland at Union Baptist Church at an early age.
He enlisted in the U.S Army as an opportunity to contribute to the household as well as serve his country in the European Theater during World War II. He was honorably discharged at the end of his service.
Upon fulfilling his military commitment, Gardner returned to Philadelphia, where he met his future bride Verna Henry during a 1946 New Year’s Eve party. After over a year of courtship, they were married on June 5, 1948, by Rev. Kirkland at Union Baptist Church. Shortly after their marriage, Gardner enrolled in school to receive electrical training. Upon graduating, he was employed by The Pennsylvania Railroad, where he retired after 43 years of service.
Gardner was a founding member of Christ Community Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Laurance G. Henry. He gave service to the following ministries: trustee, senior choir, men’s chorus, men’s ministry, Bible study and Sunday school under both Rev. Henry and the Rev. Arthur R. White.
Gardner’s other activities included membership in the American Legion, however, nothing brought him more joy than bowling. He was a member of the Model Bowling League. During his 60s, he participated in tournaments across the country. He continued bowling several times weekly until his hospitalization on March 15.
He was preceded in death by his parents and seven siblings.
Gardner is survived by his wife of 63 years; a daughter, Betty; a son, Russell Jr.; two grandsons, Imari Charles and Malcolm Gardner; and other relatives and friends.
Services will be held April 10 at Christ Community Baptist Church, 1224–30 North 41st St. Viewing is at 9 a.m. Services will follow at 11 a.m.
Pelzer Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.