Cover photo for Sandra Gardner's Obituary
Sandra Gardner Profile Photo
1940 Sandra 2023

Sandra Gardner

January 22, 1940 — August 28, 2023

Sandra Starnes Gardner of Trussville, Alabama departed from us August 28, 2023 after a long illness. Born January 22, 1940 in Gadsden, Alabama, Sandra lived a life of dedicated service, professionally and privately, and was cherished by her family for her boundless love, her genuine kindness, and her generous spirit in all things.

A graduate of Glencoe High School, Sandra attended Auburn University where she perfected her writing and administrative skills. Starting at the Jefferson County Department of Health in the 1960s she later joined the team at Rust Engineering as Executive Secretary to the president in Birmingham, Alabama. As her family grew, Sandra worked closer to home as Executive Secretary at Cahaba Bank and Trust, later becoming a member of its holding company. She translated working in the heart of the Trussville community into a new role as Executive Director of the Trussville Chamber of Commerce. Through this position, Sandra created, organized and found funding for many Trussville edifices and institutions that still serve the community. Heritage Hall, The Civitan Bridge, The Trussville Beautification Board, the first ACTA Theatre, and as well as local events like Dog Daze, the Miss Trussville Pageant and the Christmas Parade were founded and evolved from Sandra's persistent drive to establish these community cornerstones. To mark Trussville's great strides to preserve and celebrate its landmarks and community spirit during the1980s, Sandra accepted the Take Pride in America award in Washington DC on behalf of the community she loved.

Following her role directing the Miss Trussville Pageant for many years, Sandra became a founding member of the Miss Alabama Board of Directors, She later served as Executive Secretary for the Miss Alabama Scholarship Organization and as a traveling companion for a generation of Miss Alabama representatives.

Marking her life of service through volunteer leadership roles in the Alabama Federation of Women's Clubs, The Propheos Club, The Birmingham News Advisory Board, and many social service projects over her lifetime, Sandra's positive support for her greater community remains her strongest public legacy.

As her grandchildren arrived, Sandra retired to devote herself to them and to lovingly give in-home care to her senior family as they made their own journeys to transition. Devoted to her grandchildren and constantly in their company, Sandra earned the nickname "Beloved Grandmother", spoken frequently and with love by them. She remains in death as in life, truly beloved by her kin.

Preceded in death by her husband, Joseph Robert Gardner, and her parents Houston Eugene Starnes and Lois Wilabay Starnes, Sandra is survived by her children, Paige Gardner Smith and Patrick Starnes Gardner, her grandchildren, Kearney Brann Smith, Houston Graham Smith, Gabrielle Diane Gardner, Jeremiah Monroe Smith, Malcolm Hugh Smith, and John Michael Gardner.

The family will mark her internment in a private crypt-side ceremony. If desired, friends and community may make memorial donations to the Human Rights Campaign in Sandra Gardner's name.

Human Rights Campaign (hrc.org) .

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

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Jefferson Memorial Gardens East

1591 Gadsden Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35235

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