Let the family know you care by sharing this tribute.
Virginia (“Ginnie”) Elisabeth Gardner (nee Swartz), b. Nov. 13, 1943 (Sacramento, CA), d. July 29, 2020 (Columbia, MO). Pancreatic Cancer. She was the daughter of Carl and Gretchen (Welch) Swartz and is survived by her spouse of 26 years, Steven Fair, her son, Peter Gardner (Minneapolis, MN), her stepchildren: Jason and JoAnna Shear (Austin, TX. Santa Clara, CA), as well as her siblings: Carl Swartz (Boise, ID), Ellen Swartz-Pappas (Columbia, MO) and Peter Swartz (Colorado Springs, CO).
She graduated from Stephens College with an Associates degree in Language and Literature and from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Master in Education and Master in Geography.
Ginnie’s dedication to learning and helping others brought her to the University Hospital classroom where she taught and brightened the days of childrens for 36 years. Her interests and accomplishments were many: horses, art, Tai Chi, dance, running, swimming, travel…and was in her word — an “adventurer”.
At a very young age, Ginnie would leave little notes around the house: “Ginnie Bett wants a horsey.” She made this a reality and lifestyle, with experiences ranging from riding the King’s horses across the Moroccan desert to running a boarding stable at her home and accomplishing high levels of horsemanship.
Ginnie touched so many lives. She had an astounding life force that made her irresistibly loved, and she shared her warmth and zest for life abundantly.
There can be no safe gathering for a remembrance and celebration at this time. In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring her love of nature by donating to the organization below. A fund has been established in the name of “Virginia E. Gardner” at:
The Nature Conservancy
4245 N. Fairfax Dr. Ste. 100
Arlington VA, 22203