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Charles "Chief" Ray Gardner

Charles Ray “Chief” Gardner, passed away peacefully at home, on November 19, 2020, with his daughter by his side. The oldest of two children, “Chief” was born in Jackson, MS, to Leslie and Lillie Belle Gardner on April 8, 1930.

The years Charles Ray spent in Atlanta at Georgia Tech, were some of the most enjoyable for him. His fraternity friends at Georgia Tech dubbed him with the name of “Chief”, and it stuck. After completing, a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Architecture degree, “Chief” served as second lieutenant in the United States Army and later in the Army Reserves.

“Chief”, enjoyed working in Macon, GA for an architectural firm prior to returning to Jackson, MS where he worked for Dean and Purcell architects, Barlow and Plunkett architects, then Dean and Dean architects.

Having worked on various projects in Jackson, MS, in the early 1960s, while at Dean Purcell, “Chief” was given the opportunity to design the project bringing him great aesthetic satisfaction, the Chapel of Memories at Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS. This design later won the 25-year sustaining architect award, an honor bestowed by a vote of his peers.

“Chief” served as Project Architect on the following medical projects, to include, but not limited to, The Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, all in Jackson, MS. Additionally, “Chief” was the project architect on The VA Hospital in Gulfport and in Jackson, MS.

A man of incredible talent throughout his career as an architect, his first love was the Lord and his family. “Chief” displayed a quiet sense of integrity in every area. Along with creating amazing buildings and homes of excellent design, he also enjoyed painting God’s creation as he saw beauty in form and color. “Chief” loved music, dancing, and having fun. He learned many lessons from his beloved Aunt Ruth, who was close to his age. The 90 years he lived displayed his deep, quiet faith in Jesus and his committed love for his family and friends. He enjoyed serving as Deacon, Sunday School Teacher to children, and as Chairman of the Prayer Committee, in one past season, at First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS.

Concerned about his son’s special needs, “Chief” joined with other parents, in an effort to establish a place for the spiritual, social, and educational needs of these children to be met. He was the first President of the Board of the Mustard Seed, Inc.

“Chief” is survived by his wife of 56 years, Frances Kilpatrick Gardner, son, Allen McGee Gardner, of Jackson, MS and his daughter, Sarah Gardner Ray, and grand-daughter, Olivia Riley Ray, both of Nashville, TN.

“Chief” is survived by his nephew Baxter (Brenda) Strain, Ben (Tiffany) Strain and Brock Strain of Madison, MS. “Chief” is also survived by the family of his deceased nephew, Warren Strain (Sandra, Tiffany, and Brandon Strain) of Madison, MS.

“Chief” was preceded in death by his parents, sister Ouida Strain, and nephew, Warren Strain, all of Madison, MS.

Funeral services will be held 12 p.m., Monday, November 23, 2020 at Wright & Ferguson Funeral Home in Flowood, MS with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. A graveside service will follow at 2 p.m. at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, MS.

The family would like to extend special thank you to the nurses of Encompass Hospice and many dear close friends.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Charles Ray Gardner’s memory to the Mustard Seed, Inc. 1085 Luckney Road, Brandon, MS 39047 or to French Camp Academy 1 Fine Place French Camp, MS 39745.


Charles "Chief" Ray Gardner
April 8, 1930 - November 19, 2020





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