Sister Mary Gardner
Sister Mary Lenore Gardner, RSM, 99, went to her heavenly home while asleep on May 15, 2018, at Hallmar Care Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at the Mount Mercy University Chapel of Mercy, by the Rev. Ray Atwood. Burial will be at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. Friends may call from 4 to 7 p.m.
on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at the Chapel of Mercy, with a wake service at 7 p.m. Arrangements are with Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids.
Sister Mary Lenore (born Marcella) Gardner was born on Dec. 17, 1918, in Elma, Iowa, the daughter of William and Mamie (Butler) Gardner. She attended Immaculate Conception School in Elma, Iowa, and graduated in 1936. She completed her first year at Mount Mercy Junior College before entering the Cedar Rapids Community of the Sisters of Mercy in 1937. She graduated from Mount Mercy with a certificate in elementary education in 1938; DePaul University, Chicago, Ill., in 1956 with a Bachelor of Music degree; received a certificate of education from the state of Iowa in 1957; and was awarded a certificate of liturgical music at St. Joseph College, Rensselaer, Ind., in 1970. She completed various continuing education programs during summers, some specializing in band music and instrument repair.
After she graduated from Mount Mercy, Sister Mary Lenore began her ministry as an instructor at St. Wenceslaus School in 1938-1939. She taught music in the classroom and was a band instructor from 1940 to 1986 in the following Eastern Iowa parochial schools: St. Joseph's School, DeWitt, Iowa; Sacred Heart School, Waterloo, Iowa; St. Wenceslaus School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; St. John's School, Waterloo, Iowa; and Immaculate Conception School, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was missioned the summers of 1959 to 1964 to teach and work with the poverty-stricken of Port Gibson, Miss., and Fayette, Miss., and found the work to be especially rewarding.
Sister Mary Lenore was a parish visitor for St. Joseph's Parish in Earlville, Iowa, from 1986 to 2003. Upon her retirement in 2003, she was commissioned to a ministry of prayer. She was known for her love of her community, her family, music and sewing. She served as a liturgical musician at Sacred Heart Convent and was a volunteer seamstress for Mount Mercy University, Mercy Medical Center and the Sisters of Mercy. She sewed Sister's habits, altered clothes and made costumes, jackets for band members, draperies and vestments. She was an avowed member of the Sisters of Mercy for 80 years.
In addition to the Sisters of Mercy, Sister Mary Lenore is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Mamie Gardner; brothers, Linus, Frank, Joseph, John, George and Fred Gardner; and sister, Marie Gardner.
Memorials may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy at 1125 Prairie Dr. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.