Cover photo for Sam Gardner's Obituary
Sam Gardner Profile Photo
1934 Sam 2021

Sam Gardner

June 8, 1934 — November 19, 2021

Sparta

Sam Breeding Gardner passed from this life of sorrow on Friday, November 19. His departure was from the St. Thomas-Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro and followed a very brief but precipitous illness. Sam, who most recently was enjoying his retirement from the Tennessee Highway Patrol, was a long time member of the Cole’s Chapel Community, though, of-late, he was residing in Sparta following the sale of his home. Preceding Sam’s passing were his wife, Margaret Alberta Wilhite Gardner, and, their son, Sam Kirk Gardner. Born in 1934 on June 8, Sam had accumulated 87 years of life on the afternoon of his passing.

Beginning life in the midst of the “Great Depression,” Sam’s challenging youth was no impediment to his living a colorful and eventful life. In 1950 as America shouldered the burden of resisting communist aggression on the Korean Peninsula, Sam, a freshly minted U.S. Navy sailor, eagerly entered the struggle as a crewman on board a naval frigate patrolling the coast of North Korea and exchanging artillery gunfire with enemy shore batteries! Quite a change for a Sparta Boy from rural, Middle Tennessee! Later he earned a technical rating while on board the U.S.S. Dixie as a Dental Implement Technician, a skill he would hone and pursue throughout life.

Upon the completion of his naval service, Sam sought and obtained a position with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. His decades of service witnessed him participate in quelling the Memphis Race Riots and appearing in other “Hot Spots” around the state. Later he served as detachment supervisor for an elite cadre of Troopers tasked with providing protective service and transport of then Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. He retired with the rank of Sergeant serving as a field supervisor in Cookeville’s 6th District.

Survivor’s include: Nathan Gardner, grandson; Sarah Gardner Simmons, granddaughter; Mrs. Kirk Gardner (Sharon), daughter-in-law; nieces and nephews and a multitude of friends.

Services will be Wednesday, November 24 at 2:00 p.m. from the Chapel of Thurman’s Funeral Home with family visitation the day of the service visitation from 11:00 a.m. until the service begins at 2:00 p.m.

Edward Wilhite and Captain R.C. Christian, THP will direct the service and burial will be in the Elrod Cemetery with his wife and son.

Thurman Funeral Home is honored to assist this family during this difficult time.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sam Gardner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

11:00am - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Thurman Funeral Home LLC

44 N Main St, Sparta, TN 38583

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

Thurman Funeral Home LLC

44 N Main St, Sparta, TN 38583

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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