COOPERSTOWN _ On 29 Dec. 2011, Dorothy Marie Gardner, peacefully joined her husband, Ralph D. Gardner, in heaven.
Born 18 Dec. 1917, in Astoria, Queens, “Dot” was the first child of Harold Boyd Lewis and Mary Cecilia Keller. She was soon joined, and is survived by her brother, Harold Jr., (Marjorie, deceased) of Asbury Park, N.J.; and sisters, Mary (Jack) Venner of Doylestown, Pa., and Barbara (Fred) Burns of Spring Lake Heights, N.J.Dot and “Brother” often spoke of summers spent on the family boat on Long Island Sound. After Mary wasborn the family, along with assorted grandparents, aunts and uncles moved to Asbury Park on the Jersey Shore, where Barbie was born.
When Dot was 16 she boarded a train to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she majored in math. After graduating she moved to Malverne on Long Island to take a job as a high school math teacher. It was there that she met and married Ralph D. (Dick) Gardner.
They enjoyed living near New York City and attending Broadway shows. They settled into a home on Lexington Avenue and welcomed two children, Michelle (Spurchise) and Mark.
Summers were spent at Arnold’s Lake in Milford or visiting family at the shore. The camp and home were always open to Michelle and Mark’s friends and cousins for water skiing or just hanging out. In 1973, Dot retired from teaching, moved to Cooperstown and quickly became “unretired,” working for many years at the Farmers’ Museum.
This was a perfect fit, combining her love of history and antiques. Some of mom’s interests were painting, quilting, knitting, basket making, sewing and decorating for holidays.
A great day would include a cup of coffee in bed, the New York Times crossword, a visit with one of her beloved grandchildren and at 5:00 cocktails (Beefeater on the rocks with a twist) and dinner out with the famous Dinner Belles.
Dot was renamed Googa by her granddaughter, Kara, and is still known by that name to her grandchildren and all their now grown friends. Goog did like to brag to Matt and Andrew that she had seen Babe Ruth play ball back in the day. She was an avid reader, loved and hated to golf, waterskied at Arnold’s Lake into her 70s and baked delicious cheesecakes and grasshopper pie.
Dot’s loving survivors include her daughter, Michelle (Frank) Spurchise of Milford; and son, Mark Gardner, also of Milford. Grandchildren and families include Kara (Chris) Carlin and children, Cameron, Brianna and Madison of Endfield, Conn.; Matthew (Laura) Spurchise and children, Reese and newborn, Alexandra of Peabody, Mass., and Andrew (Lauren) Spurchise and son, Jackson of San Francisco, Calif. Also surviving are brother, Harold; sister, Mary (Jack) Venner, and sister, Barbie (Fred) Burns. Nieces and nephews include Jim Lewis, Kate Lewis, John Venner, Andrew Venner, Sharon Holder, Fred Burns, Bill Burns, Mary May, Stephen Burns and Amy Campbell and their families.
For the last several years Mom has resided at the Clara Welch Thanksgiving Home in Cooperstown. In this loving and supportive community she was able to continue her artwork, enjoy her daily cocktail and live independently. To the staff and residents, Dot’s family will never be able to thank you enough for your caring respect and love. Mom’s final stop was Otsego Manor and here again there is no way to express our gratitude to our heroes on Serenity Place and the angels on earth of Hospice.
Donations may be made to the Otsego Manor Serenity Place Activity Fund, 128 Phoenix Mills Cross Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326 or to the Susquehanna SPCA, 4841 State Highway 28, Cooperstown, NY 13326.
Dot’s family will receive friends from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012, at the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home, 82 Chestnut St., Cooperstown.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, at St. Mary’s “Our Lady of the Lake”Roman Catholic Church, 31 Elm St., Cooperstown.
The Service of Committal and Burial will take place in the spring of 2012, in Elm Row Cemetery in Laurens. Funeral arrangements are under the guidance of the Connell, Dow & Deysenroth Funeral Home in Cooperstown.