Dr. E. Claude Gardner
E. Claude Gardner was born January 16, 1925, to
O.A. and Edna Gardner. He was valedictorian of his high school
class in Marmaduke, Arkansas. He graduated with a junior college
degree in Bible from Freed Hardeman College in 1944. In 1945
Gardner married the former Delorese Tatum, having met her in
Chapel Hall when they were both students at Freed Hardeman.
Gardner graduated with honors from Abilene Christian
College in 1946. After receiving a master's degree at Southwest
Texas University, he began his teaching career in 1948 in the
Rosiclare, Illinois public school system. The following year
N.B. Hardeman hired him to head the Department of Education and
Psychology and to teach Bible at Freed Hardeman College.
Dr. Gardner moved into administration in 1950,
when he assumed the duties of Registrar in addition to his teaching
responsibilities. He became Dean of the college in 1956 and second
in command of the school, remaining Dean-Registrar until 1969
when he was named Vice President of Freed Hardeman. He became
president 1969. He served as Chancellor from 1990-92 and then
became President Emeritus. Gardner received five honorary doctorates
during his tenure.
During his distinguished 21-year presidency, Dr.
Gardner was a student-oriented administrator, beginning and sponsoring
several campus organizations. He promoted dramatics, speech activities,
music programs and academic and honor clubs, always stressing
his doctrine of continuous improvement." As a successful
fund-raiser he was able to expand all phases of the college,
resulting in full academic accreditation, the move from junior
college to senior college in 1976, to university status, offering
master degrees in teacher education and ministry by 1990, and
more than a dozen new buildings on campus.
At the influence of his parents and Elza Huffard,
Gardner, who began his preaching career at age 15, has since
preached for several congregations both in this country and abroad.
He has conducted 375 gospel meetings, written 500 articles for
religious publications, and has authored eight books.
Dr. Gardner has also been very active in the community,
serving as a founder of the Chester County Senior Citizens Group,
the Chester County Chamber of Commerce, and the Chester County
Crime-stoppers, and he served on the Board of Directors of the
Chester County Bank.
A man of resolute determination with a clear vision
of what he hoped the University could become, he strove 43 years
to make that vision a reality. Perhaps no other president has
possessed the same breadth of experience and intimate knowledge
of Freed Hardeman. Gardner was known to close chapel services
at the university with the words, "Shall we go?" Those
three words reflect the forward-stepping approach evident in
his life and work. At age 92 he was still seen at campus events
and remained keenly interested in the progress and future of
Freed Hardeman University.
Dr. Gardner is survived his four children: Phyllis
(Sam) Hester, Becky (Larry) Cyr, Claudia Goodson (Steve Kubik),
and David (Pat) Gardner; grandchildren Kristen (Jeremy) Hicks,
Beth (Julio) Rivas, Adam (Tosha) Cyr, Nick (Cait) Gardner, Bennett
Gardner (fiancé Julie), and Madison Gardner; great grandchildren
Tucker Cyr, Breanne Gardner and Tessa Moore.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife
of 56 years Delorese, and second wife, Glenda Jacobs Gardner,
and his brothers, Stanley, Don, and Albert, and sister, Ethel
Memorials may be made to the E. Claude and Delorese
Gardner Scholarship at Freed Hardeman University.
Dr. E. Claude Gardner
January 16, 1925 - December 31, 2017
Dr. E. Claude Gardner, age 92,
minister, educator, and former President of Freed-Hardeman University
died Sunday afternoon at Jackson General Hospital, Jackson, Tennessee
. Dr. E. Claude Gardner, went home to be with the Lord Sunday,
December 31, 2017.
Funeral services will be conducted
on Saturday, January 6 at 2:00 p.m. at Loyd Auditorium on the
campus of Freed Hardeman University. Visitation will be from
4:009:00 p.m. on Friday January 5 at the Henderson Church
of Christ building and from 11:00 a.m.1:00 p.m. at Loyd
Auditorium on January 6.
We honor the
example he set.
We will miss him greatly.
Our prayers are with his family
Shackelford Funeral Directors
619 E Main St,