Andrew D. Gardner

April 5, 1931 ~ May 27, 2019 (age 88)


Andrew (Andy) Daniel Gardner Sr. was born on April 5, 1931 in Linneus, Maine, to Eldon and Eva Gardner. He had 3 older brothers; Herman, Everett, and Merle, and a younger sister, Lois and brother, David. At age 9, the family moved to North Easton, MA, where he grew up helping his dad build houses. In first grade, he was run over by a truck backing up. He survived, he joked, thanks to his hard head. God was watching over him even then. He played both offence and defense for the Oliver Ames High School football team and enjoyed competition. He also worked at a car repair shop where he learned about auto mechanics.
At the age of 12, he gave his heart to the Lord and felt the call to be a missionary. Later, in response to that call, he enrolled at the Nyack Missionary Training Institute in Nyack, NY where he met and fell in love with Norma Dailey. They eventually married and were fast-tracked to French West Africa, to the area known as Guinea today, because there was an acute need for builders there at the time. This meant they did not have to go through a home assignment but went straight to language school in Switzerland to learn French.
Once in Africa, for the first 10 years, he built numerous churches, school buildings, and homes, living with Norma and eventually their young family in a 16' trailer so they could move from one building site to another. They also learned the Maninka and Pular languages. After this time, he and Norma also had a period of living as dorm parents at a school for missionaries' children - an oft-mentioned favorite time of blessing for them, creating life-long friendships with children and their parents. They also spent a few years in Sierra Leone when the Guinea borders were closed to incoming missionaries. The last 10 years of their 30-year missionary career they taught at the Telekoro Bible Institute and he still did occasional building. He was faithful to share the good news of Christ with everyone who would listen. (In later years, his "business card" was a conversation-starting tract.) His gift for languages gave him the ease of speaking naturally with everyone he met, and he never met a stranger he couldn't engage in conversation.
He loved Norma and his three kids, Janet, Andy and Steve. He often showed his love by doing things for or with them. He hung a 90' swing on a tall forest tree on the edge of a hill, encouraged tree climbing and risk-taking, took the boys hunting with an 8 mm rifle using casings from WWII, used the winch on his truck to haul vehicles out of mud holes, and made a tight-rope walk and trampoline. He killed numerous snakes, was unbeatable in horseshoes and loved practical jokes, although he made sure that he taught his children that a good practical joke never hurt people, property, or feelings. One of his favorites was to have a blank, questioning face when you asked if he had done something, to make you think he had not. He also led unsuspecting people into driver ant trails (okay, so not permanently hurt), removed slats under the head of people's beds so they would tip when they lay down, and shot a pistol off in the early morning hours to wake people up on a camping trip. He referred to himself as a "Maine-iac."
He maintained generators, welded framing, rebuilt engines, dug wells, poured concrete, graded roads, plowed fields for Bible schools students with a plow he made himself by combining two different plows, cut down trees, slaughtered cows when necessary, faced down a witch, and raised chickens and bees.
The Lord protected him numerous times; in truck and car accidents, being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a political uprising in Sierra Leone, cutting his leg with a chainsaw, moving barrels of gasoline out from under a burning building, falling into a car pit, hitting his knee with a sledge hammer, falling headfirst from a two-story balcony, being chased by snakes, and malaria.
When Norma became too sick to return to Africa, Andy went into building in Massachusetts and New Jersey while she recovered, doing some pulpit supply on the weekends. When she was doing better, he became the pastor at Wendell Avenue Alliance Church in Brockton, MA, where they served for another 30 years. He loved his church family there at Wendell Avenue. He was faithful to share God's Word in its entirety; he encouraged, challenged, visited the sick and imprisoned, walked with many through their final days, fed the hungry and did not look for acclaim or financial benefit over what was necessary to live. He was instrumental in having a Spanish-speaking congregation begin using the church at times during the week when the congregation he was leading was not using it, and, in his 70's, began to learn Spanish on his own to be able to communicate better with them.
Andy and Norma were always generous with their finances and time. Once, when asked why they had not invested more in their retirement, he said they had decided long ago that the best investment they could make was in God's work and people. They have always lived frugally. Never have they spent money on lavish vacations, going out to eat a lot, or expensive toys. The tools they bought for each other were often a source of blessing to others. Their hearts of generosity were opened up to their children, grandchildren, to those God had placed in contact with them and to supporting God's work around the world.
Andy finally came to the decision to retire from formal ministry, which he did in December of 2014, four months short of his 84th birthday.
Three months later, in March, 2015, Norma passed away. That meant he lost his primary ministry, his secondary ministry, which was caring for Norma, and his ministry partner, friend, lover and confidante all in the course of 3 months. It was devastating.
During her lifetime, in one of her frequent brushes with death because of her breathing illness, Norma had told Andy that if he should ever want to remarry, he should consider marrying Corrine Horn, a missionary teacher and friend who had taught all three kids in their elementary years. He eventually proposed to Corrine by letter and she said yes. He went from a point of significant depression to sheer joy. They were married in January, 2016.
Andy developed another ministry of repairing lawn mowers and snow blowers until they decided to sell their house and move to the Alliance Community in Deland, FL in the fall of 2018. Once they moved, he had a hip replacement in early May 2019, and then died 3 weeks later from an embolism believed to be associated with that surgery.
He is survived by his wife Corrine; daughter Janet and her husband, Jim; son Andy and his wife, Janice; son Steve and his wife, Vickie; sister Lois, brother David, 6 grandchildren, 3 grand-daughters-in-law and 1 great-grandson (Andrew Daniel Gardner IV).
The Lord watched over him and gave him strength, love, courage and wisdom throughout his life. He always pointed people to the Lord. He was a faithful servant. May the Lord be praised!

Cemetery Details

Oakdale Cemetery
800 N. Clara Ave.
De Land, FL 32720


JUN 8. 2:00 PM (ET)

Alliance Center Chapel

600 South Florida Avenue

DeLand, FL 32720

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