As we retrace the footprints of Jessie Jr. Gardner, we can only give thanks for the lives he touched and enriched along his life"s journey. On July 11, 1945, in the community of Beirne, Arkansas, the late Uldine & Ervin Gardner Jr.celebrated the birth of their first son they named Jessie Jr..,
On Friday, December 28, 2018, Jessie while in the Long Beach Veteran's Hospital traded time for eternity.
In 1963, he graduated with honors from Henry Bell High School in Gurdon, AR. In school, he participated in sports and played Forward on the school basketball team. He was known for assisting the school maintenance cleanup crew to earn extra spending money. After graduation, he gained employment with the local timber industry at Cabe Lumber Company. Jessie learned at an early age responsibility... He possessed an impeccable work ethic; No stranger to hard work he taught his children that nothing in life is free, and that hard work will pay off.
He was baptized at an early age and attended the Shady Grove Baptist Church in Beirne, AR. After he moved to California, he served as a Deacon at Truth Missionary Baptist Church, Compton, California.
In 1964, he was united in Holy Matrimony to his high school sweetheart of five years and classmate Mabel Lyons. To this union God added six children, four preceding him in death.
In 1966 he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served in the Vietnam War and received an honorable discharge with the rank of Staff Sgt. E-6. He received The National Defense Service Medal, The Bronze Star Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Marksman Badge (Rifle), and the Good Conduct Medal for service to his country.
After his discharge from the Army, determined to make a better life, He & Mabel moved to California where he found employment as a Bus Operator with the Los Angeles Rapid Transit District, (now MTA), and was promoted to the position of Line Instructor, in addition to being an Operator until his retirement. He received several awards for Best Driver and other Safety Awards.
After his retirement, you could find him doing what he loved most Working on cars, working on somebody's yard, and enjoying his grandfather role as chauffeur, picking up his grandchildren from school until his health began to fail.
One of his favorite foods was fried chicken; he would eat chicken any time of the day or night. Seeing him eating & sucking on neck bones, you would surely understand the saying "you can take the boy out of the country, but not the country out of the boy," he enjoyed them to the max! He loved watching old Western shows and listening to the Blues, especially if a harmonica was in the mix. Jessie was the life of the party. He would make his friends and grandchildren laugh with his funny dancing antics, because he had no rhythm, saying to them after his performances, " Look at this old boy, I mean I got it, ain't I?" ... and they would answer "Yeah, you got something, we just don't know what! Jessie was preceded in death by his parents Ervin and Uldine Gardner and his older sister Eartherline White. He is survived by his wife Mabel Gardner, two Sons Mannix Gardner and Tracy Gardner all of Compton, CA., Five grandchildren, Salexis, Tevin, Manadia, Troye, Mannix Leodis, and two great-grandchildren, Trish and Taj. One Brother Billy (Doris) Gardner of Texarkana, TX., three sisters; Pauline Anderson (Thomas), Brenda Gardner-Stovall both of Houston, TX., and Theresa Lee (James) of North Carolina; A host of nephews, nieces, cherished friends, and special friend Stella Hines. A viewing will be held on Thursday, January 10, 2019, from noon to 2 pm at Harrison-Ross Mortuary, 436 E. Compton Blvd., Compton, California. Funeral services start at 2 P.M. Instead of flowers; the family suggests contributions be made to the Wounded Warriors Project, Home for Our Troops Organization or Disabled American Veterans Service Trust.
The family of Jessie Gardner, Jr. would like to thank you for the many acts of loving-kindness shown to us during our bereavement. Your thoughtfulness is deeply appreciated and will always be remembered.
With three locations to serve you, Harrison-Ross Mortuary has always been a community leader in funeral and cremation services. At each location, our staff are trained to patiently assist you in arranging such a very important occasion. Harrison-Ross Mortuary will help your family through tough emotional times with compassionate service. We are family owned and operated, and our number one goal is to make this difficult time easier on you and your loved ones.
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