Obituary of James Gardner
James Gladstone Gardner was called by name one Saturday, January 23, 1954. He was the second child and first son to father; Alban Gardner and mother; Alma Gray-Gardner. Born and raised in Seaford Town in Westmorland Jamaica, James was known to be a fun loving, friendly, kind and respectful young boy. He received his early education at the Seaford Town Elementary School where he was always a very enthusiastic learner who excelled in all academic areas. He attended church with his family and served as an alter server in his local church. Upon completion of elementary school, he then went on to further his studies by attending Cornwall College in Montego Bay. In his late teenage years, he worked in a furniture factory where he explored his interest in the industry. This, however, was short-lived as he soon applied and received acceptance and then left for training for the police force. At the age of 20 years old, he joined the Jamaica Constabulary. Like anything James would commit himself to, he excelled as an officer. As a result, he joined a special division with more specific details and duties known as Mobile Reserve.
James never discarded the attributes that made him a scholar. He could always be seen with his head buried and a book in his hand. He was reading every chance he could afford. He read books of different genres, though science fiction was his favorite. You would be in for a treat if he decided to share a paragraph or page with you. As he would read with the precise pitch, speed and emphasis on conveying the story. He read for entertainment, but also to stay informed. He read the physical newspaper; and as those seem to be vanishing from today’s society, he read them online. He stays informed of all that’s happening in Jamaica, not just by talking to friends and loved ones who lives there; but by reading various Jamaican newspapers daily.
James loved Jamaica and all that it represented in his personal journey. He would have endless conversations, and laughter steeped into the Jamaica dialect both comparing ad challenging knowledge about its history and culture. His love for Jamaica never left his heart. He cherished spending quality time with family and friends, whether at social gatherings one-on-one or on the telephone. If you were not familiar with the thing, music, saying or food he mentioned; he would laugh so hard and say, ‘You’re not a true Jamaican” there is a possibility he might have been the first to start the saying; You know you are Jamaican if you ---
James was deeply admired and loved by anyone who was blessed to share a conversation of mutual interest or their lives with him in any capacity. He served as a great role model, voice of reasoning and father figure to his nieces, nephews and other young people who knew him well. He was a staunch advocate for education and would encourage and support loved ones in any way he could to earn their desired goal. His pep talks would often lead to quoting from a poem he learned in high school, “The heights by great men reached and kept were not abstained by sudden flight, but they, while their companion slept, were toiling through the night. He reminded us that nobody suddenly leaps into success or greatness. Also, that even though others might not see us working, doesn’t mean we weren’t. but that we should continue striving even while others sleep; and our hard work will be rewarded.”
To his daughters, Nicole and Tara-Lee, he was a protector, someone to admire, a source to look to for guidance, someone to be proud of and someone to boast about, someone to cry with and a shoulder to cry on, a dad to talk with or without any just because, a dad to learn from and to respect, a dad to listen to and to share the big and small and in-between challenges achievement. He will forever be cherished in their hearts and chiseled in their minds for even the simplest lessons he instilled, like life is too short and ever-so-often brutal, so the best way to combat all it brings our way, is a good laugh and the determination to appreciate every moment shared with our loved ones despite any circumstances. His presence in their lives was a gift and will be cherished always. To the world he was just a dad but to them he was the world.
In March 1993, he migrated to the United States of America. First, to New York City which was short-lived as he soon moved to Miami, Florida. Shortly thereafter he met his life partner and wife, Melvina Mueller. Little did he know that a phone conversation in December 1994 would change his life forever. They were inseparable. Little did they know that the rest of their lives were forged with many years of memories ahead. Wherever you saw one, you would see the other. They shared common interests and celebrated each other’s individual preferences. They lived together in Pembroke Pines, Florida and later relocated to what was his final address in Winter Havens.
Our beloved father, brother, uncle, husband and friend fell ill in November of 2022, which caused him to be homebound. In February he was rushed to the Winter Haven Hospital as his health declined. Then to an enormous loss to those who knew and loved him, he succumbed to his illness on Thursday, April 20 2023, when he was called to be with the Lord.
James is survived by his wife, Melvina Gardner; daughters, Mrs. Nicole Gardner-Sharpe, and Miss Tara-lee Gardner; grandson, Alex Douglas Jr.; siblings, Roselyn Ingleton, Joyce Crosdale, Francis Gardner; brother-in-law, Ewen Crosdale; four nieces and eight nephews; a host of extended family and dear friends. He will forever be missed by those who knew and loved him. James Gladstone Gardner will not only live on in our memories but through the generations he has impacted.
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