Gardenhire, Mary Garner

Business Owner Was Active In Politics And Served On The Erlanger Board Of Trustees

Saturday, October 5, 2019
Mary Gardenhire
Mary Gardenhire

Mary Garner Gardenhire, 70, departed this earth to be with Christ on October 4, 2019.

Mary was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth Bishop Garner, Sr., her mother, Frankie Hotalen Garner and her beloved sister, Connie Marie (“Sissy”) Garner.

She leaves a brother, Kenneth B. Garner, Jr. (Sherry), daughter, Kimberly Alice Gardenhire Scarborough (Victor), son, Randall Todd Gardenhire, Jr. (Amber), and four grandchildren; McKenzie Marie Gardenhire, Maddox Bishop Gardenhire, Blake Levi-Gardenhire and Alexis May Scarborough.

She was a 1967 graduate of Brainerd High School, attended Covenant College and graduated from The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1972 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in History. While at UTC, Mary was the editor of the independent student newspaper, The Fourth Estate, as well as an advisor to the independent student newspaper on the Knoxville campus of UT, The Other Publication, sponsored by the local chapters of Young American’s for Freedom.

Elected to the Hamilton County Quarterly Court in August, 1972 as the highest voter recipient of all the 15 districts and elected again in November, 1972 after a court challenge to redraw the districts. She served for six years. This was the first time in 150 years the Republicans controlled an elected body in Hamilton County. She also headed up the district office of the Committee to Re-Elect President Nixon in the 1972 election.

From December 1972 until January 1975, Mary was on the staff of Congressman LaMar Baker as his constituent service representative for the Third Congressional District. Active in the local Republican Party, Mary held several leadership positions during the 70s; most notability was being the Third Congressional District Delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1976 pledged to Gov. Ronald Reagan.

Mary was the first woman to be a member of the Chattanooga Jaycee’s. She also served on the Metro Government Charter Commission. Later she worked with Washington advocacy groups to secure federal funding for the Walnut Street Bridge project. Mary served on the Erlanger Board of Trustees from 1992 until 1999. While on the Erlanger Board, she supported the implementation of the Wound Care Center Program and the Emergency Heart and Stroke Center; the construction of the Pediatric Subspecialty Building, the East Brainerd Outpatient Facility, the Ancillary East Surgery Center, the Women’s East Pavilion, the Chattanooga LifeStyle Center and the Medical Mall; and the formation of the Galaxy Health Alliance.

Mary was an owner of Ken Garner Enterprises, a family business founded by her father. She served as corporate secretary for Ken Garner Manufacturing, Inc. since its founding. Mary was licensed to sell insurance in 1980 and was awarded special recognition in sales during her time at Hufffaker and Associates. Mary worked with several agencies, one of which she owned. It was during these years she and her assistant, Rebecca Guest, successfully became a formidable team in the insurance industry. She currently worked with Southern Insurance.

Mary was an accomplished piano player, avid reader, gifted writer, advocate for others, and loved to travel and immerse herself in other cultures. Mary was a devoted mother and grandmother with wisdom in her words and calming comfort in her advice. Mom’s advice was one of a kind and may these words and fierce loving kindness forever echo in our minds and hearts. Mom was warm, loving, tenacious, resilient, fearless, educated, gracious, loyal and the epitome of lady to the very end of her life. Our lives are forever changed and words can’t describe how much she will be missed.

Mary fought a courageous and relentless eight-month battle against Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Her family is extremely grateful to her doctors and nurses, Hans Humberger (Therapy Consultants) and numerous others involved in her care. Eternal thanks especially to her wonderful caregivers Angie Cartwright, Anna Gross, Sierra Dugall, and Theresa Young. They are also thankful for the support and devotion of her faithful friends M. L. Drazich and Russell King.

Her services will be held at Chattanooga Funeral Home East Chapel, 404 South Moore Road on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 11:30 a.m. with the Reverend Steve Bennett officiating.

Visitation will be on Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 4-8 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 9, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either the Williams Syndrome Association or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Please share your thoughts and memories at

L. Brock Bennington

Kathryn “Kay” Hall

David Allen Roddy

L. Brock Bennington, 50, passed away on January 20, 2020. Brock was born and raised in Chattanooga. In his youth, he was a proud member of Boy Scout Troop 82, attaining the rank of Life Scout. ... (click for more)

Kathryn “Kay” Hall, 91, of Ooltewah, went home to be with the Lord Friday, January 10, 2020. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., she has been a resident of the Chattanooga area for the past 15 years. ... (click for more)

David Allen Roddy, 56, passed away peacefully January 21, 2020. David was born on June 1, 1963 in Chattanooga and was a long time resident of East Ridge. He was retired from UPS after 32 ... (click for more)


L. Brock Bennington

L. Brock Bennington, 50, passed away on January 20, 2020. Brock was born and raised in Chattanooga. In his youth, he was a proud member of Boy Scout Troop 82, attaining the rank of Life Scout. He attended the McCallie School before graduating in 1988 from Central High School. While attending UTC, he was a founding member of the Sigma-Omega chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. ... (click for more)

Kathryn “Kay” Hall

Kathryn “Kay” Hall, 91, of Ooltewah, went home to be with the Lord Friday, January 10, 2020. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., she has been a resident of the Chattanooga area for the past 15 years. She was a retired missionary and a member of the Woodland Park Baptist Church and was the wife of the late Richard Hall. She loved painting and studied art at Tennessee Temple College. ... (click for more)

Area Obituaries

Longwith, Mary Frances (LaFayette)

Mary Frances Longwith, 90, formerly of LaFayette, Georgia, passed peacefully away in her home in Tuscumbia, Alabama, in the morning of January 19, 2020, following a pleasant afternoon with her family. She was born in Hinkle, Ga., and was raised on Lookout Mountain where she attended church at Payne's Chapel Methodist Church. She was educated at Berry School where she met her ... (click for more)

Hawkins, Debbie Wilson (Summerville)

Debbie Wilson Hawkins, age 68, of Summerville, Georgia, passed away Sunday morning, January 19, 2020, in a Rome hospital, following an extended illness. A native of Chattooga County, she was born in Trion, Ga. on Jan. 12, 1952 to the late James Aubrey Wilson, Jr. and Nancy Young Wilson, who survives. Debbie was a member of Midway Baptist and formerly worked for Southeast First ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Tereasa King, 36, Identified As Person Killed In Accident On Monday

Tereasa King, 36, of Hixson, has been identified as the person killed in a single-vehicle accident Monday afternoon on Middle Valley Road. At approximately 2 p.m., the driver of a pickup truck was going north on Middle Valley Road in a curve when the truck went off the roadway, down an embankment into a wooded area, it rolled, and eventually the driver was ejected. Ms. ... (click for more)

Missing Girl From Chattanooga Found Safe In Nashville 4 Hours After Amber Alert Issued Thursday Afternoon

A 12-year-old was found safe in Nashville after an Amber Alert had been issued on behalf of the Chattanooga Police Department for Lucy Lucas. She was last seen on Tuesday afternoon in Chattanooga. The girl was found four hours after an Amber Alert was issued by the TBI. (click for more)