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Mary Elizabeth (Kinard) Gardner
October 4, 1946 ~ October 26, 2023 (age 77) 77 Years Old
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Mary Elizabeth Kinard Gardner, 77, peacefully passed away Thursday morning at Wesley Long Hospital surrounded by loved ones as she departed this world to be greeted by Jesus.
Mary was born to the late John Albert Kinard, Sr. and Novice Caldwell Kinard in Walterboro, SC on October 4, 1946. As a child of educators, she was raised to be curious and adventurous. Her childhood summers were spent traveling, experiencing and learning as they would make their way to the 48 continental states, Mexico and Canada. She followed in her parents’ footsteps and pursued a career in education. She earned her B.A. in Elementary Education in 1967 from the University of South Carolina. But, she would postpone her career after graduating because, while she was in college, she had fallen in love with Roger, who was serving in the Army. Within a year of getting married during her senior year of college, they had welcomed their first child and Roger was stationed to serve in Germany. Their early years as a family were spent relocating to different bases. Mary made sure that her family took full advantage of the opportunities of each relocation to travel and experience the beauty and history of each area. Without the luxury of the internet and travel apps, she and Roger would spend hours studying maps and brochures to plan trips in their VW camper to England, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Belgium.
In 1978, with both of her children school-aged, Mary decided to start her teaching career and would spend the next 30 years teaching in Columbia and Florence, South Carolina, and in Roanoke, Virginia. During her career, she received awards for School Teacher of the Year and District Reading Teacher of the Year. She also earned a Master's Degree in Education from the University of South Carolina in 1983.
She and Roger were relocated to Roanoke, VA in 1988 and Mary taught for the Roanoke City Schools until she retired in 2010. After her son graduated from Virginia Tech, she and Roger took the family on a special trip to Hawaii, one of the two states she had yet to visit, in 1993. She was an active member of Cave Springs Baptist Church while in Roanoke. With Roger and her dear church friends, Mary would achieve her goal of traveling to all 50 states when they went to Alaska in 2013.
In 2015, since they were both retired, Mary and Roger moved to North Carolina to be closer to their two children and granddaughters. They settled in Greensboro and quickly found their church family at Gate City Baptist Church. Mary was grateful to be close to her family so that she could host weekly family dinners, attend her grandchildren’s activities, and assist her son when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017. Mary lived her life fully, stayed faithful in her love of the Lord, committed herself wholly to anything she took on, and made sure that the people around her felt her love.
Left to cherish her memory are her husband of 56 years Roger, her daughter and son-in-law Stacey and Glenn Dennehy, granddaughters Megan and Kelly Dennehy, brother Dr. John A. Kinard, Jr., and many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins. She has been reunited in Heaven with her son Brian Gardner, her parents, and her sisters Jeannine Goethe and Jacqueline (Jackie) Whaley.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Mary’s memory to the American Cancer Society or the International Mission Board.
A memorial service will be held at Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina at 2:00PM on Friday, November 3, 2023. The family will receive visitors following the service.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”