Cover photo for Thomas Gardner's Obituary
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1938 Thomas 2024

Thomas Gardner

July 28, 1938 — April 22, 2024

Thomas Edward Gardner, loving husband of the late Margaret "Peggy" (Qualters) Gardner and father of three, passed away on April 22, 2024, in Westlake, Ohio, at the age of 85.

Born on July 28, 1938, in Akron, Ohio, Tom was the eldest of four children born to the late Frank and Regina (McShaffrey) Gardner. He attended St. Sebastian grade school when polio struck in 1948. Confined to his bed for a year, ten-year-old Tom dreamed of freedom and movement. He later ran nine marathons and competed as a race walker in the National Senior Olympics.

Tom graduated from Buchtel High School and began a career in sales. Tom fell in love with Peggy and married her in 1966. They started a family together in Tallmadge, Ohio. Their home was a busy place full of kids, pets and the smell of Sunday roast in the oven.

Tom liked to stay busy and was always on the move. If he wasn't working, he would be running, volunteering, cleaning, or working around the house. He was a hands-on Dad. Every morning, he made himself the only dish he knew how to cook, Cream of Wheat cereal. He then packed his three kids' lunches and pounded on their bedroom doors to announce that the bus was waiting. The only time he sat down was to read the Akron Beacon Journal or to watch sports.

A deeply religious man, Tom was proud to send his children and several grandchildren to Catholic schools. He regularly attended church and volunteered at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna and the Cleveland Clinic Avon Hospital. He loved socializing with his bridge club friends and talking to people. He took his family out to dinner on Friday nights and befriended every waiter for life.

Tom was happiest spending time with his family, watching sports and running. Tom called his children the first time he saw LeBron James play at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and said he saw the future of basketball in that 14-year-old kid. He was a member of the St. Vincent-St. Mary Athletic Booster Club and loved to travel to Columbus for the playoffs. Tom was an avid fan of the Browns in good times and in bad. The whole family traveled to Florida to watch him compete in the National Senior Olympics at Disney World. Sporting t-shirts with Tom's face and his funny grin, the kids and grandkids carried motivational signs that said: "Go Tom Go. Don't Be Slow!"

Tom's later years were spent in Avon to be closer to family. He was a fan favorite at Rose Senior Living in Avon and Devon Oakes in Westlake. He was happy to be a member of St. Joseph Parrish in Avon Lake. His beautiful blue eyes and friendly smile always lit up the room wherever he went. He will be forever remembered by his family and friends as a kind, genuine and caring man.

Tom is survived by his three children: Ann Marie Gardner, Karen Gardner Menyhart and her husband, Nick Traenkner, and David Gardner and his wife, Carrie Gardner. Tom is survived by seven grandchildren: Genevieve and Vivienne Menyhart; Jack and Nora Gardner; and Jacob, Samantha and Zachary Smit. He is also survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Margaret and Jim Fletcher, and his brother-in-law, Robert Case. Tom was predeceased by his wife, his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, Michael and Judy Gardner, his sister, Patricia Carpenter, his sister-in-law, Mary Sax, his sister-in-law, Carolyn Case, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Richard and Janet Qualters, and his grandson, Frank Gardner.

Calling hours will be 4-7pm Monday, April 29, at Hummel Funeral Home, 500 E. Exchange St. Akron, Ohio 44304. Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00am Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 32929 Lake Rd. Avon Lake, Ohio 44012. Private interment at Holy Cross Cemetery in Akron.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of Tom's favorite charities, the Prayers from Maria Foundation, which raises money to cure childhood brain cancer. The address is:

Prayers from Maria Foundation

20226 Detroit Road

Rocky River, OH 44116

To donate online, the website is

Service Schedule

Past Services

Calling Hours

Monday, April 29, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hummel Funeral Home- Akron

500 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44304

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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Joseph Catholic Church

32929 Lake Rd., Avon Lake, OH 44012

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