Martin “Marty” Gardner of Lincoln, and formerly Fredericksburg, Virginia, passed away on Dec 2.
Martin was born Sept. 7, 1936, to Edwin and Evelyn (Bro) Gardner, and spent his childhood in Nebraska City. He attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and Michigan State University, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Criminology, Sociology, Education, and Special Education of the Deaf.
In August 1959, then-22-year-old Martin embarked on a freighter bound for Europe. He lived abroad for two years, learned German, French, and Spanish languages as he went, and took up sky-diving with a team in France. The memories of that trip stayed with him all his life.
Returning home, Martin married Lynne (Shepherd) Gardner of Lincoln in 1962, and began his life-long career in law enforcement.
He was a police dispatcher in Omaha, a patrol officer in Lincoln and Flint, Michigan, and served as a member of a select undercover enforcement group for investigation and prosecution of organized crime in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. His career took him to Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Immigration Service, and Inspector General’s Office.
In retirement, Martin pursued his interests in public speaking, magic, music (piano, accordion, and harmonica) and composition, clowning (as his alter-ego, “Zinger”), and training his beloved dogs. He was a volunteer with the Stafford (Virginia) Rescue Squad, a sign language interpreter, and served on medical mission teams in Haiti and Honduras. He was active in the Rappahannock Regional Toastmasters, winning first place in the 1999 District 27 Humorous Speech Contest.
Martin is survived by his twin sister Margaret (Connor), of Spokane, Washington; son Marty and his wife, Jackie, of Boston, Massachusetts; daughter Anne (Sutherland) and her husband, Shannon, of Lincoln, Nebraska; and grandchildren Emily, C.J., Sabrina, and Bridget. He was preceded in death by brothers Robert and Paul, and was interred at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Nebraska City.
The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks to the staff at Bickford Senior Living in Lincoln for the care and compassion that brought so much comfort and happiness to Martin’s final years. Memorial donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity, a cause near and dear to Martin throughout his life.