ARCOLA – Mary Virginia Gardner, 90, of Arcola died at 1:25 a.m. Friday (Feb. 22, 2013) at The Arthur Home in Arthur, surrounded by her loving family.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Vine Street Christian Church, 249 S. Vine St., Arthur, with the Rev. Dawn Ingram officiating. Burial will follow in the Arcola Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25, at Shrader Funeral Home, 204 N. Locust St., Arcola, and also one hour prior to the funeral service at the church.
Mary was born July 16, 1922, in Arthur, the daughter of John W. and Bessie Harmon Craig Sr. She was united in marriage to Dale Lindsey Gardner on Jan. 29, 1944, at the Vine Street Christian Church in Arthur; he preceded her in death on Nov. 11, 2006.
Survivors include three sons, Gary (Ruby) Gardner and Ronald (Darla) Gardner, both of Arcola, and Gregory Kent (Michelle) Gardner of Charleston; one daughter, Rebecca (Richard) Harrer of Arthur; 11 grandchildren, Kendal Gardner, Lee (Jennifer) Gardner, Lesley (Shane) Smith, Jeremy (Jackie) Gardner, Ava Gardner, Ean Gardner, Lois Doss, Ben (Trisha) Sluder, Holly (Gregg) Brokaw, Tom (Rachel) Sluder and Joe (Meagan) Sluder; 17 great-grandchildren, Preston and Pierson Smith, Silvey and Ginger Gardner, Alyx and Kylan Gardner, Dekota Fulk, Skyler Doss, Lexi and Luke Sluder, Ella, Jake, and Maya Brokaw, Logan, Max and Lyla Sluder, and Kinley Sluder; and her beloved poodle, "Pookey."
She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, John Craig Jr. and Richard Craig; and sisters, Leifa Ellen Craig, Dorothy Watkins, Gladys Watson Petenbrink, and Doris Grant.
Mary was salutatorian of her class in 1939 at Arthur High School, graduating a year early. She was granted a scholarship to the University of Illinois but was unable to attend.
Before her marriage, Mary was a secretary to Principal Anderson at Arthur High School; and also worked as a secretary at Progress Industries in Arthur in the casket division. Later she worked as a secretary for the Arcola First Christian Church in the 1970s.
Mary was a traditional farm wife, helping Dale in the fields, raising a garden and canning. She loved to prepare meals and was especially known for her homemade pies.
Mary was a member of the Arcola First Christian Church, where she was a Sunday School and Bible School teacher, but also attended the Vine Street Christian Church when she was able. She was involved with the Arcola PTA organization and was an Arcola Telecare volunteer. She loved to read and play bridge, belonging to several clubs over the years.
Mary was the family caregiver. She and Dale's home was always open to family, friends and even strangers who were snowbound.
Memorials are suggested to the Vine Street Christian Church or the Arcola Food Pantry.
Online condolences to the family may be sent to www.hilligossshraderfh.com .