Patricia Ann “Pat” Gardner, 75, of Ocean View, Del., entered eternal life on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Doing it her way until the end, she passed peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family, listening to oldies and holding the hand of her Honey. She was born June 19, 1945, to the late John and Grace Shaw, and raised in Toughkenamon, Pa.
Gardner was a 1963 graduate of Kennett High School, but she would say the best and most important day of her life was March 18, 1962, when she met the love of her life and her “Honey” of 58 years, Charles Gardner. Selecting him during “ladies’ choice” at a Sunday-night dance, she asked him to jitterbug, and the rest is history (four generations’ worth, to be exact).
Together, they filled their 57-year marriage with an abundance of love and adventure. Residing in Toughkenamon and spending weekends in Ocean View for decades, the couple made the area their permanent residence by the Indian River Bay merely 14 years ago. When asked what her greatest joy was, Gardner would say her family and then proceed to pull their photos from her wallet.
Perhaps Gardner’s greatest passion besides her family was cooking. There was always something on the stove or in the oven. So, since giving was her nature, there was always an extra seat at her table for unexpected guests or anyone needing extra love. Anyone lucky enough to share a meal with her was probably told, “If you leave here hungry, it’s your fault!” while carrying away some perfectly packaged leftovers. Her love for cooking also carried over professionally, working as a prep cook at the Cottage Cafe in Bethany Beach, Del., until March of 2020.
Her soul was one deeply connected to the treasures of the sea and the beach. Gardner loved fishing, boating, beachcombing, sea turtles and spotting dolphins. Though the Delaware beaches had her heart, she savored the decades she spent with family and friends vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard.
The first to send a handwritten card, to fill a shopping cart for a family in need, to say a prayer for someone she didn’t know, to start buying Toys for Tots as early as July and plan a party to celebrate almost anything, there is no one in the world like Gardner. The family asked that those who loved Gardner spend a day living like her, to preserve her memory and make the world a better place. Play some Buffett, drink a Bloody and search for beach treasure. “Remember to always take a bag to the beach so you can pick up what others have left behind, as only your footprints should be left in the sand. She certainly did in our hearts.”
In addition to her husband, Charles, Gardner is survived by two children, Tracy Rzucidlo of Exton, Pa., and Charlie Gardner of Ocean View, whom she adored beyond words; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren, all of whom she enjoyed spending time with and spoiling rotten, as a “Mom-Mom.”
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., with visitation starting at 10 a.m., on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Clarksville Chapel, 34874 Atlantic Avenue, Ocean View, Del. Interment will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to MERR Institute Inc.; 801 Pilottown Rd.; Lewes, DE 19958. Condolences may be sent online at www.parsellfuneralhomes.com.