William J. Gardner – Narragansett

William J. Gardner – Narragansett

William J. Gardner, 93, of Bonnet Shores in Narragansett, passed away peacefully February 3 at home, in his sunroom in the loving care of his family. Bill now rejoins his best friend and lifelong love, Barbara (McKnight) Gardner, to whom he was happily married for over 55 years.

Bill was the loving father of William Gardner and his wife, Michaela; MaeBeth Ryan and her husband, Mark; Barbara Gardner, and the late Mark Gardner. He leaves his adoring and adored grandchildren William, Graham and Max Gardner, Mark Ryan, Maegan Pratt and Kristin and Kerrin Frappier, and his great-grandchildren Terrence, Reilly and Grace. He will be sadly missed by many nieces, nephews and friends. His good humor and gentlemanly qualities led him to become an adopted member of many extended families.

Born April 4, 1925, Bill grew up in Pawtucket with his parents, William and Sarah (Lyons) Gardner and his late sister, Barbara (Cook). Many of Bill’s values were defined by his depression era upbringing and he was known for both his frugality with coffee and his boundless generosity. Bill was a veteran of WWII, a member of the US Army 586th AAA Automatic Weapons Battalion. He served in combat throughout Europe after coming ashore in Normandy just after D-Day. His experiences in the war left him a man of peace and compassion.

Bill and Barbara Gardner married in 1952 and started their family in Pawtucket, later they lived in Cumberland and spent summers surrounded by family and friends in Bonnet Shores to where they retired. When he came home from the service in 1945, he returned to high school to get his diploma and he followed in his father’s footsteps as an artisan in the jewelry industry. Bill was also an entrepreneur, first starting an engraving firm with his father and culminating with the establishment in 1982 of Gardner’s Restaurant in Cumberland. He owned and operated the family business until his retirement in 2003.

Bill enjoyed spending the winter months in Florida and traveling with family and friends. In his younger days, he was a champion duckpin bowler and was passionate about golf and skiing well into his 70s and always considered to be a true gentlemen by all who crossed his path.

A funeral mass celebrating Bill’s life will be held at St. Veronica’s Chapel, 1035 Boston Neck Road in Narragansett at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, February 9, followed by ceremonies and burial at the Veteran’s Cemetery. Visiting hours are respectfully omitted at Bill’s request.

In lieu of flowers, donations in William Gardner’s memory may be made to Hope Hospice RI at www.hopehealthco.org.

Final care is being provided by his dear family friends at Costigan-O’Neill Funeral Home, a few blocks from where he grew up and a couple of blocks away from where he started his family in Pawtucket.