Joseph (Joe) Francis Gardner died of natural causes on November 23, 2021 in Huntsville, Alabama at the age of seventy-seven. Joe is survived by his daughters, Lisa Marie and Jennifer Lee; grandson Joseph Thomas Gardner; step-granddaughter Chloe Ellison Meadows; sisters Mary Elizabeth Gardner McQuiggan and Christine Rose Gardner; former wife and friend, Sandra Lee Gardner Wilsak (née Geralds); son-in-law Gary Thor Gunnels; and sister-in-law Vicki Anderson (née Wysocki). He was preceded in death by his wife, Gay Johnette Petersen Gardner (née Wysocki); parents William Charles Gardner and Marion Augustine Gardner (née Hansle); brother William Charles Gardner, Jr.; brother-in-law Edward T. McQuiggan, Sr.; brother-in-law Andy Anderson; four nephews: Edward, William, Thomas, David; and one niece, Gail.
Joe was born in Boston, Massachusetts on October 10, 1944. He grew up in Roxbury, the youngest of the family. In 1964, he joined the United States Navy. He served on the USS Gearing (DD-710) and did a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea area. He returned home from the military in 1968. In 1970, he married Sandra Lee, and began his studies to be an electrician. They had Lisa Marie in 1972. Not long after, they moved to South Carolina for an electrical apprenticeship, where they had Jennifer Lee in 1978. In 1981, the family moved to Arizona, where Joe began working at the Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant. After going through some changes, Joe and Sandy divorced, and Joe eventually moved back to Massachusetts. There, he reconnected with Gay Johnette, an old family friend. They fell in love and married in 1990. They resided in North Rhode Island for many years. Joe loved reading about history, playing chess, being a good neighbor,classic rock and Johnny Cash, feeding squirrels and birds, a Good Dog, a bird named Barney, time with family and friends, cooking, savoring tasty foods, the Patriots, a hearty laugh, and especially his wife, Gay. She was the love of his life and he will be laid to rest with her. After Gay’s passing in 2010, Joe developed dementia and in 2017 he moved to Huntsville, Alabama to live with his daughter Lisa and his son-in-law Gary.
Joe’s remains will be cremated and a private service will be held in the spring. He will be laid to rest within the Braintree Plain Street Cemetery in Braintree, Massachusetts alongside Gay. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations please be sent to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF) in his name.