Services for Mr. Ralph Gardner were held 11 a.m., Monday, June 29, 2020 at Milling Funeral Home Chapel of Union. Burial was in the County Line Cemetery. Dr. Jon Martin and Rev. Rusty Walton officiated.
Visitation was held 10:30-11 a.m. prior to the service on Monday at Milling Funeral Home Chapel of Union.
Mr. Ralph Gardner, 98, of Union passed away on Friday, June 26, 2020.
Survivors include his wife of 74 ½ years, Mildred Gardner of Union; two daughters, Linda Henley and husband, Bill, of Talbot, TN and Nancy Gardner of Union; grandson, Mike Henley of Talbot, TN; and sister, Willie Cleveland and husband, Joe, of Union.
Mr. Ralph is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mr. Ralph is preceded in death by his parents, Basil and Leila Gardner; two sisters, Connie Cleveland and Bobbie Cleveland; and brother, Leon Gardner.
Born on a farm in Neshoba County on Aug. 29, 1921, Ralph was a lifelong resident of the County Line community. He grew up working hard and kept that work ethic all of his life. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he joined the USMC and proudly served his country as a member of the VMB-423 Seahorse Marine Squadron in the South Pacific. He said many times he was glad to have served and would gladly do it again.
When he returned home, he married his sweetheart and they shared a life together for seventy-four and one half years. They added two daughters, a son-in-law, a grandson, numerous dogs and cats, parakeets, goldfish and Nero the Lizard to the family. Life was rarely dull and always filled with love and fun with an occasional reprimand to rambunctious daughters.
Ralph enjoyed traveling with his family. They were blessed to share many special memories during their trips.
He was a business owner in Union for forty years. He gave back to the town he loved in various ways serving on the committee for Union's Centennial Celebration, a member and officer in the Lions Club, a member of the School Board, president of the Chamber of Commerce, and was one of the original founders of Country Day. In 2018, Ralph was honored as Citizen of the Year by the Chamber. He was so surprised and humbled by this award.
Ralph was a people person, never met a stranger, and had a smile that could light up a room. On June 26 God felt that smile was needed to help brighten his kingdom in Heaven. That smile is deeply missed here on earth but we know we'll see it again. Semper Fi to our favorite Marine.