Jimmy Weldon Gardner, 1931-2023. Jimmy was born on November 27, 1931, on Thanksgiving Day, also the birthday of his Grandmother (Nana) and Aunt Cretia at the family farmhouse southeast of Stillwater, Payne Co., Oklahoma. Dr. Wilhite of Perkins, Oklahoma, was the attending physician for a fee of $25. He was the son of Grady W. and Edith Grace (Williams) Gardner. The family lived in Ponca City, Oklahoma, before moving to St. Louis, Missouri, and then to Springfield, Missouri. Most of his childhood was there. In 1946 Jimmy went to Perkins, Oklahoma, to attend high school. He was president of his class in his junior and senior years and editor of the prize-winning school newspaper. He graduated in 1949. Unsure of what he wanted to do in life, he delayed going to college until 1952, when he enrolled in Oklahoma A&M (later Oklahoma State University) and graduated as an English Education major and vocal music minor. In 1956 he accepted a position in Stroud, Oklahoma, to teach vocal music and English. He was also the librarian after the high school burned in January 1957. For the last two years there he taught English only. While teaching there, he earned a master’s degree and began working on a doctorate. In the Spring of 1966, he was offered the 8-month position of teaching Modern Linguistics to DODDS schools in Japan through the OSU Extension Department. He taught at 4 sites in the Tokyo area and 2 sites in Okinawa. He returned to Perkins, Oklahoma, where he resumed work on his doctorate. He also taught classes in freshman English on campus and by extension. During this time, he realized he really wanted to teach in high school. He applied to teach English in DODDS schools and was accepted to teach in the same area where he had taught Modern Linguistics. He liked to joke that the reason he liked Japan so much was that everyone was his size.. The two-year contract was renewed in 1997. He moved to Arlington, Texas, in October 1997, where he lived the rest of his life. Written by Jimmy. Survivors: Favorite niece Valerie Woods, daughter-in-law Tazuko Sakamoto, & only son and best friend Shahin Monsef. Relatives in Arkansas, Japan, Oklahoma, & California. Jimmy died on February 4, 2023.
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