Gone, but never forgotten
Audrey Gardner loved teaching in Iola, her mother, Rosemary Gardner, told a crowd of teachers and staff at Lincoln Elementary School Tuesday.
In an emotional address, Rosemary said her daughter invested her heart and time in her students and fellow staff.
Audrey taught third and fourth grade at Lincoln, joining the school district in 2002.
She died unexpectedly Dec. 3, 2018, at the age of 41.
Audrey Gardner’s parents, Rosemary and Paul, react when they see a bench dedicated in the late teacher's memory.
Lincoln staff dedicated a bench in her honor and gathered for a balloon launch to commemorate Gardner.
Friends, family and fellow teachers attached personal messages to the balloons, “to reach her in Heaven.”
Corbin Manbeck of Mid-American Woodworking constructed the bench, which featured the words “In memory of Audrey Gardner” cut into the metal using Audrey’s own handwriting. One side featured a cutout of a hedgehog, a favorite pet of Audrey’s. The other side featured a hunting scene.
Audrey’s parents, Rosemary and Paul Gardner of Girard, said they were touched by the love and support from the Iola community since their daughter’s death.
The bench will be kept at Lincoln until a new elementary school is built, when it will be moved to the new school.
A bench dedicated to Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Audrey Gardner, who died in December, features wording done in her handwriting.