|ROCKY MOUNT - Emma Frances Wheeler Gardner, 95, died peacefully on Thursday, January 29, 2009 surrounded by her family. “Miss Emma” was born September 12, 1913 to Knox Hunter and Patty Layton Wheeler. She was the youngest of six children and the only daughter.
In 1933, she married George Andrew Gardner. This extended her family by adding several brothers and sisters-in-law. They raised three children while farming in the communities of Justice and Cedar Rock.
Miss Emma was the matriarch of the family. She served not only her relatives but those in the community who were fortunate to know her. She is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. She was viewed as a motherly figure to her “Special People” that she loved dearly.
Miss Emma graciously gave her time and loving care to ensure the well being of her children and grandchildren, leaving a legacy that any woman would be lucky to emulate.
After her husband’s death in 1983, son-in-law Russ Kibbe insisted that she move to Rocky Mount and live with his family. She became known as Grandma Gardner to those around her. She enjoyed the daily interaction with three of her grandsons. She enriched their lives by being a constant source of love, discipline and fabulous fried chicken.
She was preceded to heaven by her parents; brothers, David, Frank, Sam, John and Ruffin; sons-in-law, Russ Kibbe and Bob Gehrmann; grandson, Jerry Gardner; and beloved niece, Johnnie Bell Shearon.
She is survived by daughters, Mary Gehrmann of Bear, Delaware, and Jean Kibbe of Rocky Mount, and a son, I.B. Gardner and his wife Rachel of Nashville; grandchildren, Rhonda and Danny Gehrmann, Vickie Denton, Ricky and Jody Gardner, David and Candy Gardner, Robbie and Shelley Kibbe, Bill and Catherine Kibbe, Lee and Joanne Kibbe; great-grandchildren, Kelly Gehrmann, David, Matthew and Taylor Gardner, Melissa, Ryan, Jenna and Brittney Gardner, Russ and Sam Kibbe, Will, Anne Russell and Smith Kibbe; special great-niece, Janine Morgan; and countless nieces, nephews and friends.
The family received friends from 2 to 4 pm Sunday, February 1, 2009 at Johnson Funerals and Cremations on English Road. A funeral service was held 11 am Monday, February 2, 2009 in the chapel.
Burial followed at Forest Hills Cemetery.
Arrangements entrusted to Johnson Funerals and Cremations, 661 English Road, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Online condolences can be made at www.johnsonfuneralsandcremations.com.