Rev. John William (Bill) Gardner, 87, of Newton IA, passed away on August 27, 2022, having lived a full life of service.
Bill was born on February 4, 1935, to Rev. Frank Nelson and Helen Margaret (Bryant) Gardner in Lexington KY. After several ministerial related moves, the family settled in Des Moines IA,
where Bill graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School and Drake University. Desiring to serve the Lord, he then attended Lexington Theological Seminary. Following seminary, Bill became the third generation of Gardner's to become a pastor. He began his ministerial career, spanning over 50 years, serving full time Christian Church (Disciples) congregations in Fordsville KY (during seminary), Whitten/Eldora IA; Petersburg IL; Corydon/New York IA; Camdenton MO; and Des Moines IA. Feeling a different calling, Bill then became an interim specialist for churches between pastors for the next twenty-two years before his retirement, serving fourteen more congregations.
Through his wife Shirley Jean (Callaway), they raised two sons Jeffrey John and James William and enjoyed time with grandchildren Zachary James and Justin Kornelis especially camping with them, playing games, and attending their many sporting events.
Bill was predeceased by parents Rev. Frank Nelson and Helen Margaret (Bryant) Gardner, brother and sister in-law, Frank Robert & Mary Jane (Drake) Gardner, and sister Margaret Joan
Gardner. Survivors include brother and sister in-law Richard Bryant & Kathleen (Stadler) Gardner of Cambridge MN, sons Jeff Gardner of Grimes IA, and Jim & Irene (Bouwers)
Gardner of rural Dallas Center IA, grandsons Zach & Shelby (Bowersox) Gardner of New Hope MN and Justin Gardner of Grimes IA.
Throughout his life, Bill enjoyed connecting with his congregation members, having developed life-long relationships with many. Wherever there were stories to be told and a laugh to be had,
Bill could engage with anybody. In his later years, Bill moved to Newton IA so he could attend Bethany United Church of Christ in Baxter IA having served two different interim ministries there and enjoying the friendships and connections he made there. During his last year, the family was grateful to Tracy Vargas and her sons for being his caretaker up through his passing.
Visitation with family will be held September 8, 2022 from 5:00-7:00 at Bethany United Church of Christ, 5627 N 95th Ave W, Baxter, IA 50028. Services will be held the following day, September 9, 2022, at 3:00 at the same location with graveside service and fellowship luncheon to follow.
Memorials may be made to Bethany United Church of Christ in Baxter IA.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of John William "Bill" Gardner, please visit our Tribute Store
Baxter, Iowa 50028
Baxter, Iowa 50028
Bill and I had a lot of fun at Regional and General Assembly's. I will the good times and the after Assembly gatherings we attended and enjoyed. See you my friend when My times comes to be with the Lord. Rev Craig E. Robertson