Stephen J. Gardner ’63 died on December 22, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia.
(The following was provided by Washington Post in December 29, 2023:)
Stephen Jeremy Gardner of Arlington, VA., passed away peacefully on Friday, December 22, 2023, surrounded by his devoted family.
Steve lived a full and dynamic life, in stark contrast with his last ten years while living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Born in Queens, NY, he was an old soul from an early age who helped care for his younger siblings and excelled in school. He attended Bowdoin College, beginning a lifelong love affair with Maine that lives on in his children. He entered graduate school to study psychology, but that plan fell apart when the third of his four kids came along and he needed to provide for his family. So he went back to work at IBM, where he’d been a mailroom clerk during his college years.
Steve was one of the last of a dying breed of “Company Men,” having devoted his life and loyalty to a thirty-five-year career at IBM. He was a successful human resources executive, climbing the ranks while moving his family across the country and around the globe: from Westchester County, NY, to Atlanta, to Dallas, to Paris, to Connecticut, to Vermont, to Tokyo.
In his retirement, Steve launched a remarkable second act as a public servant, moving back to his beloved Maine and becoming chairman of the Town of West Bath Board of Selectmen and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Patten Free Library. He never did learn to dock his boat, but he became an avid cross-country skier. He was also a doting and silly grandfather who spent hours on the phone with his grandchildren talking gibberish and inventing games. He will be remembered fondly for his lyrics to the song, “I’m Missing a Sock in the Forest.”
As much as his career meant to him, nothing meant more to Steve than family. He was married sixty years to the love of his life, Irene, whom he met in Ossining, NY, where she had settled after immigrating from Scotland. She survives him, as do his four children: David of Paris, France; Gerald of Las Vegas, NV; Lisa of Eugene, OrR; and Amy of Arlington, VA. Steve is also survived by seven beautiful grandchildren, and by his brother and sister, Alan Ireland and Anne Ireland, both of whom he adored, as well as their children and grandchildren and several cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister Claire Ireland, his mother, Dorothy Ireland, his stepfather, Charles Ireland, and his father, Albert Gardner.