ZANESVILLE: Mrs. Shirley Ann Gardner, of Zanesville, Ohio formerly of New Philadelphia and Cambridge, Ohio passed away peacefully at Genesis Hospice - Morrison House in Zanesville, Ohio on October 30, 2012, at around 7:30 P.M.
Shirley fought a courageous battle with cancer.
She was the former Shirley McClurg before her marriage to Glenn Gardner. Glenn and Shirley were married at Fair Oaks Baptist Church, Zanesville, Ohio June 6, 1953 and spent 55 years together before Glenn's death in October of 2008.
She was the daughter of Glen S. and Hilda M. McClurg, both deceased.
Shirley's beginning childhood was filled with creativity and artistic talents, even at a young age.
Starting at age 2 she would sing in church.
While as a child, Shirley's Mother, Hilda, would dress her up exactly as "Shirley Temple". Also as a child she danced with the Marjorie Holzschuher Dance Studio.
She also participated on Uncle Nate's Show at the Weller Theater in Zanesville as a very young girl too. This was a tap dance routine and was performed on the radio, including Mickey Mouse Birthday Party, which was on the radio as well.
She attended Wilson Elementary, Grover Cleveland Jr. High graduated with honors from Zanesville High School in 1950. She was involved with many clubs there and participated in all activities.
Another interest of Mrs. Gardner's was pageantry, in which she won many titles including Miss Central Ohio, which was held annually at Buckeye Lake, Ohio. Also other titles included "Miss Jaycee of 1953" and Mrs. Beauty of America a total of three times. And she also held the title in 2002 of "Mrs. Ohio Beauty of America" while singing "Hello Dolly".
Chronologically, she worked at Bintz Brothers Dept. Store, Zanesville, Ohio while also modeling clothes there.
She worked at Big Lots for seventeen years until her illness. And one of her major accomplishments was serving the Zanesville City Schools at 4 different schools for over 30 years, retiring there.
With Shirley's children in school she was very involved in clubs such as P.T.A., P.T.L., Mothers Singers, and Newcomer's Club in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
As her children were attending Zanesville schools she was also a proud Band and Devilette Mother. She was also the President of the Child Conservation League.
Shirley was very busy always taking her children to sports, band, and dance classes throughout their childhood.
She also worked for most of her adult life, always giving and working for charities and doing anything to improve her community. Some of her contributions included, but were not limited to such clubs as the Pilot Club and raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
She also spent many hours through the years, about 24, volunteering and becoming a fixture in the annual "Zaney Follies" as an "actress and comedian" to benefit Hospice and then became a patient of Hospice her last few months of life.
She also was the Chair Person for the "Ton of Talent" scholarship award for many years to help children.
She was also nominated for the Bob and Delores Hope Award.
What some friends may not know is that she was an accomplished artist and was very talented in painting large murals for private and public parties. She once painted a 75 foot mural for New Philadelphia's Little Theatre.
She won many 1st and 2nd place ribbons in the Muskingum County Fair with her oil, pastel, and charcoal sketches and paintings. She inspired her middle child, Tammy, to follow in her footsteps.
However, of all her accomplishments, she was most proud of the many years she served as Chairperson for the Zane's Trace Commemoration that lasted nearly 25 years.
She also created many designs for the Commemoration, including the pottery bells and badges etc. The "Canal Walk" was always a special part of the Commmemoration.
She had many various interests in life including a trip to the casinos either in Las Vegas or Wheeling, West Virginia. And she even had some poems and stories published in 2 books in her later years, and they can be found at the Muskingum County Library in Zanesville.
Besides the great love and loyalty she had for her family, she always was proud to be a Zanesvillian.
She will be missed by many including her family and children and friends. The world has lost a great woman, mother, friend, sister, community leader and charity organizer and volunteer.
She leaves behind a son, Larry Keith Gardner of Zanesville, OH; and daughters, Tammy Lynn of New Albany, Ohio and Cheryl Sue of Gahanna, Ohio.
She also leaves a grandson, Chase Gardner, of Gahanna.
Her siblings include: Marilyn Bollinger, and Dean and Denver Lee McClurg.
Special close friends of her also include: Carolyn Berry of Gahanna, Ohio and Mary Makkai, of New Albany, Ohio.
Friends and family may call from 2:00-4:00 & 6:00-8:00 P.M. on Friday, November 2, 2012, at the Bolin-Dierkes Funeral Home, 1271 Blue Avenue, Zanesville, where funeral services will be held at 9:30 A.M. on Saturday, November 3, 2012, with Pastor Dean Cole officiating.
She will be laid to rest next to her husband, Glenn, at Zanesville Memorial Park Cemetery.
To send a note of condolence, order flowers or comfort food, or to follow us on Facebook: www.bolin-dierkesfuneralhome.com
Published in the Times Recorder on November 1, 2012