On December 30, 2016, Joan Gardner, formerly of Carthage, IN, passed away after an extended illness at the Hopewest Hospice Care Center, Grand Junction, CO.
Joan was born January 26, 1931, in Dayton, OH to Sherman and Emma (Stephens) Nevels. She was the youngest of three children. Her brother, Sherman Jr, preceded her in death.
Joan graduated from Carthage High School in 1949 and enrolled at St. Vincent’s Hospital School of Nursing in Indianapolis, IN, and graduated with a Diploma in Nursing in 1952. She accepted a Registered Nurse position at Ball Memorial Hospital, and enrolled at Ball Stated Teacher’s College in Muncie, IN. While attending Ball State she met fellow student and future husband, Eugene (Gene) R. Gardner, during a party at a mutual friend’s house.
Joan graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1955. She and Gene were married on June 11,1955, and settled in Carthage where he taught school and she worked part-time as a Registered Nurse at Hancock County Memorial Hospital while raising two daughters.
Joan returned to full-time employment as the hospital/clinic nurse at the former Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Childrens Home, Knightstown, IN, where she worked for nearly 16 years. She also worked as a Nursing Inservice Director at various regional skilled nursing facilities, a case worker at Women Infants and Children, (WIC) in Rushville, a nurse clinician at Planned Parenthood in New Castle, and a part-time Nursing Instructor at Ivy Technical College in Anderson. She last worked as an RN case manager at the Indiana Developmental Center in New Castle, IN, where she retired from in 1997.
Joan was also active in local Democrat politics. She volunteered with the American Legion Auxiliary and Henry Henley Public Library board in Carthage. She also served as a local union representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Joan spent time growing up in southeastern Kentucky where she was close to her maternal grandparents, John and Etta Stephens. She lived in Carthage for 69 years before re-locating to Grand Junction, CO, in 2014 to be near her family.
Joan is survived by her daughters, Mary (Shelby) Gardner Cantley of Grand Junction, CO, and Melinda Ellen Blue of Fairfax, VA; two granddaughters, Elena Clare Cantley of Noblesville, IN, and Michaela Ellen Blue of Austin, TX; one sister, Kelda (Eddie) Stephens, of Knightstown, IN; and several nieces and nephews. She and Gene were married for 37 years until his death in 1992.
Per Joan’s wishes, she was cremated and a private memorial service has already taken place. Her cremains were scattered with her maternal grandparents and interred at her husband’s graveside at Arlington East Hill Cemetery, Arlington, IN.
Friends are welcome to make memorial donations to Hopewest Hospice of Grand Junction, CO, the New Castle/Henry County Animal Shelter, the Henry Henley Public Library in Carthage, or the charity of the donor’s choice.
You may leave the family an online condolence at www.heritagefuneralcares.com.
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