Jean Ann Wassner Gardner was born in Waukegan, IL on June 24, 1942--the Feast of the Nativity of John the Baptist--to Mary Elizabeth Ruppert Wassner and Robert Ross Wassner.
She was very active in the Girl Scouts as a child and later as a Girl Scout leader. Jean attended Miami University. This was a special place to her as it was both her father's and later her granddaughter, Ashley's alma mater. For a time, she worked for dietician services at Good Samaritan Hospital in Sandusky. After her marriage to James E. “Jim” Gardner and raising her children Jean re-entered the workforce with the Jack and Jill PreSchool in Sandusky.
For thirty-two years Jean worked with the Sandusky Library starting with the Follet House Museum. She worked up to the position of Assistant Curator to Helen Hansen and was an historic advisor assisting Cedar Point and Meijer with locating local artwork to be used for decorating purposes. Jean transferred to the Sandusky Library where she worked at various desks as a Customer Services Specialist. Her interest in local Sandusky history led her to give presentations on the indigenous peoples of the area to various Sandusky elementary schools. She was an organizer of the Library “Fun for Foodies Cookbook Club” which held weekly events where participants shared food and recipes with one another based on a weekly theme. She especially enjoyed sharing recipes, cooking and baking with her granddaughter, Grace. Jean is remembered for having insisted on throwing a party for the staff of the Library, instead of the other way around, when she retired, as an illustration of her kindness and generosity to others. Like many citizens of Sandusky, Jean and Jim worked for a time at the Cedar Point Amusement Park during the summers.
Jean was a member of the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Ohio. She grew up at Calvary Church, Sandusky, attended Grace Church, Sandusky where she was in charge of Confirmation Classes for a number of years, and was a member of Christ Church, Oberlin. At Oberlin she served as a Lay Catechist, and served multiple terms as a delegate to the annual Diocesan Convention. She also served a term on the parish vestry and was both Junior Warden and Senior Warden. In wider church work Jean worked with Youth Ministry and the Christian Education Commission. She was active on the planning Committee for the Kenyon Summer Conferences (1981 - 2014) sponsored by the Diocese of Ohio and the Diocese of Southern Ohio. It was her delight to introduce her grandson, Grant, to this summer formation opportunity. She was also instrumental in helping to organize the annual Mission and Ministry Conference which began in 1990 and is now known as the Winter Convocation. She believed that spiritual formation is a life-long endeavor. She believed that God is in control and whenever she doubted this, she would stand on the beach behind Cedar Point and watch the waters of Lake Erie ebb and flow. Like her patron saint, Jean spent her lifetime pointing the way to Jesus.
On November 26th, the National Day of Thanksgiving for 2020, Jean died suddenly. She died as she lived: living, laughing, learning and loving her family and friends many of whom were feline quadrupeds!
She was preceded in death by her parents, her loving spouse James E. Gardner, a baby boy, her beloved sister Elizabeth Ruppert Wassner Gast, and many, many feline friends. She is survived by her brother, David Wassner, her children, Elizabeth Ann Marnix (Joe), Christopher Gardner (Christina), grandchildren, Ashley Lawrence, Grant Gardner, Grace Gardner, and a host of "Companions on the Way."
Memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of Erie County, 1911 Superior St, Sandusky, OH 44870, The Bishop’s Annual Appeal of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, 2230 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115, or the charity of one’s choice. Funeral rites will be private and, due to COVID-19 restrictions, will take place at a later date with the Rev. Dr. Brian K. Wilbert, Interim Rector of Grace Church, Sandusky officiating. Ransom Funeral & Cremation Service, Castalia, is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences and gifts of sympathy may be shared with family by visiting ransomfuneralhome.com.
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Humane Society of Erie County
1911 Superior St., Sandusky OH 44824
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio
2230 Euclid Ave, Cleveland OH 44115
One's Favorite Charity