William Jackson Gardner, Jr. “Jack” passed away on Friday, February 2, 2024, at the Crystal Coast Hospice House after a long-fought battle with cancer.
The Sacraments of Burial and Eucharist will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, February 8th at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, officiated by The Rev. Tambria Lee. A lunch reception will immediately follow the service.
Jack was born in Beaufort, NC on September 16, 1943. He was predeceased by his devoted parents, William J. Gardner, Sr. “Jack” and Hazel Dill Gardner.
While attending Beaufort High School, he met the girl who would become his beloved wife of 60 years, Norma Merrell Gardner. Jack attended East Carolina University, graduating in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology. He began his distinguished career in textiles at Burlington Industries in Halifax, VA. Jack moved his family to Kinston, NC where he worked for Guilford Mills for almost 20 years. His career then took him to Martinsville, VA where he worked until retirement as Vice President of Operations from Tultex Corporation.
Jack was a lifetime member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Beaufort. Serving as an acolyte as a young boy and as Senior Warden on the Vestry, building furniture, and serving in multiple other capacities after he and Norma retired back to Beaufort.
Jack was an accomplished decoy carver, a passion that started when he was a boy. He was a longstanding member of the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild, a group dedicated to preserving the tradition of carving. Jack won several carving awards throughout the years including being honored as Featured Carver of the Year in 2013. He was still able to enjoy his carving on Thursdays at the Guild up until a few months ago. He shared his passion for carving and woodworking with his son, grandsons, and many friends.
Many friends and family will remember Jack’s quick wit, great personality, and welcoming smile. He enjoyed duck hunting and houseboat trips over to Core Banks, days relaxing on Shackleford Banks, and spending time with friends and family.
In addition to his wife, Jack is survived by his daughter, Kelly G Stainback, and son, Todd Gardner (Renee Spear) all of Beaufort; brother, Stephen Gardner (Jill Heilman) of Hillsborough, NC; and brother-in-law, Wayne Merrell (Esther) of Beaufort. He was the loving grandfather to Arien Young (Chris) of Winston-Salem, Sam Stainback (fiancé Taylor Phelps) of Beaufort, and Flynn Gardner of Beaufort. Two great-grandsons, Skylar and Layton Young, and uncle to nephews, Nick Gardner, Doug Merrell (Christina), and Jeffery Merrell (Missy), in addition to many beloved cousins.
Jack’s passing leaves a huge void in the hearts of his family and friends.
The family would like to thank those who cared for Jack through his long illness including the Doctors and staff at Duke University Cancer Center, Durham, NC; Carteret Healthcare Home Health; and the Crystal Coast Hospice House.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made in Jack’s memory to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Beaufort, 215 Ann Street, Beaufort, NC. 28516 or Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild, Post Office Box 89, Harkers Island, NC 28531.
Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.
Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.