The winners have been selected! Fifteen of your neighbors in the community will be honored with a Beacon Award on Nov. 17 at WoodWinds. Join the celebration.
Mary Jane ‘MJ’ Gardner
Mary Jane “MJ” Gardner, 80, of Madison passed away peacefully on April 29 at Artis Senior Living of Branford. She was born on Jan. 4, 1941 in Stamford. She was the third born child to the late Stanley and Frances (Dzubinski) Grabowski. She is survived by her siblings Frankie Knight, Stephen Grabowski, and Barbara Cikatz. She is preceded in death by her brother Stashu Grabowski and sister Jeannie DiProspero.
Mary Jane, affectionately known as MJ, was married to William Gardner and had four children to whom she devoted her energy and love: Cindi (Mike Dwyer), Bill (Diane Gardner), Jamie (Susan Gardner), and Kristin (Jack Taylor), who were all raised in Woodbridge before settling in Madison.
MJ had a close relationship with all her grandchildren, who lovingly refer to her as Nanny: Ashley Walter, Amber Gardner, Britt Strief, Taylor Romaine, Jesse Gardner, Ty Gardner, Mark Gardner, Danny Gardner, and Halle Gardner. She was always tremendously proud of all their accomplishments, loved sharing special one-on-one time together, and was a frequent attendee at all their sporting events and activities.
Her great-grandchildren also brought her tremendous joy: Miles, Merit, Wilder, Jackson, Monroe, and another great-granddaughter coming soon. She cherished her step grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well. Love for family and friends were paramount in her daily life.
MJ had many interests that occupied her free time including tennis, gardening, reading, traveling, decorating, and entertaining. Playing piano was a true joy of hers, and many were fortunate to join in sing-alongs to her favorite Sound of Music numbers or Christmas carols. Everyone who met Mary Jane felt her love and genuine compassion. Her beauty and grace permeated every room she entered.
As a hard-working first-generation polish American she held many jobs, but the one she cherished the most was working in her father’s meat market. Her father taught her to be independent, reliable, confident, kind, and hardworking at a very young age. These traits not only shaped her character, but they are the very ones she proudly instilled in all four of her children. After all, being a mom was her greatest accomplishment.
All services are private and are in the care of Clancy-Palumbo Funeral Home, 43 Kirkham Avenue, East Haven.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Alzheimer’s Association 200 Executive Blvd S #4b, Southington, CT 06489.