Cover photo for Bobbie Gardner's Obituary
1929 Bobbie 2022

Bobbie Gardner

September 15, 1929 — November 30, 2022


Bobbie Ruth Gardner, age 93, passed away in Madison, Wisconsin on November 30, 2022.

Bobbie was born on September 15, 1929, in Mobile, Alabama to Robert and Myra McLaurin. Bobbie grew up in Alabama and Mississippi and was a true southern girl her whole life, full of grace, laughter and charm; you could hear the musical notes of the south in her accent, which she never lost. She attended Meridian Junior college after HS, where she met William “Bill/Bud” Gardner. They married on June 4, 1950, and remained loving companions until his death in 2014. She missed her Bud until the day she passed.

Bobbie and Bill began their life together in Mississippi, where Bobbie worked while Bill pursued his PhD in psychology. They also lived in Tennessee and Ohio, before locating to Madison, WI, for Bill’s faculty position at the University of Wisconsin, where Bobbie lived for the remainder of her life.

Bobbie raised three children and was active in the First Baptist church, Girl Scouts, faculty associations and local civic groups. She traveled extensively with Bill and Hawaii was a favorite destination. She was a legendary hostess of parties for friends/faculty and mentored many international students. In the 70s she worked as administrative support for a series of principals and greeted students at the front desk of Memorial High School, a favorite of staff and students for her sharp attention to detail and her easy laughter.

Bobbie was an avid reader and crafted amazing cross-stitch and needle point creations. She was a maker of lists, was obsessively organized, was interested in politics, watched figure skating, loved ice cream, crossword puzzles, made fabulous cornbread dressing, walnut dreams and Christmas brisket. She adored cats (and a pug named Missy) and was a devoted cat Mom to Chow, Freckles, Lady, Big Guy, Jazz and then her beloved sweet Molly, who was with her when she passed. Later in life Bobbie discovered Sanibel Island and fell in love; it became her “home away from home”. She “lived” there during a stint each winter for 2+ decades and proudly served as an elected member of the Board of Directors at Hurricane House. Her children were so lucky to share time and create memories side-by-side with her there each year.

Bobbie had a smile that lit up the world and would quickly dissolve into infectious giggles over silly things; the melody of her easy laughter captured hearts wherever she went. She made friends effortlessly and made strangers feel welcomed. She would not walk and have a conversation at the same time; she had to stop in place and really pay attention to what was being said. Irritating at times to her children, but completely endearing.

Bobbie was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Bill, and dear friends Jan Blades, Marianne Cairns and Joannie Young. She leaves behind her children Nan Gardner (Cross Plains, WI), Steve Gardner and his wife Kathy (Madison, WI) and Becky Gardner (Madison, WI), and many other family and friends, including her good friends at Sauk Gardens and Sebring.

A celebration of life will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Angel’s Wish Pet Adoption of Verona, WI.

Mom, we hope you’re sitting on a Lanai enjoying gentle breezes in Heaven with a bowl of ice cream in your hand and Bud and Molly at your side. You can take off your shoes and run in the grass again dear Mom, but those left behind will miss you immeasurably. You were a true treasure and blessing. Your laughter will never be forgotten, and as Dad would say, Keep the Smile.

We invite you to share your memories here on Bobbie's tribute wall.

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bobbie Gardner, please visit our flower store.


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