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1931 Dorothy Gardner 2024

Dorothy L. (Thornburg) Gardner

May 23, 1931 — January 19, 2024

Mrs. Dorothy L. (Thornburg) Gardner, of Waltham, cherished mother, grandmother, great-grandmother passed away peacefully on Friday, January 19, 2024 at home with her loving family at her side. She was 92. 

Dorothy was born on May 23, 1931 in Cambridge where her parents, the late Howard and Mary (Farmer) Thornburg, natives of Martinsburg, West Virginia, and later moved to Somerville where Dorothy graduated in 1949 from Somerville High School.

She met her sweetheart, Clifford R. Gardner at the West Somerville Baptist Church and they later married in the church on February 17, 1951. Clifford and Dorothy later moved to Waltham in 1957 and so began her hobby of hooking and braiding wool rugs. She earned her state teaching certificate for adult education programs in 1969 and taught at Boston YWCA, Watertown, Newton, Waltham and Arlington. She was a member of the National Guild of Pearl McGowan Rugcrafters.

In 1974, her husband, Cliff established his own real estate company, Gardner Realty in Belmont and Dot soon earned her real estate brokers license and worked alongside of him. Dorothy and Cliff were married for 64 years until his death in 2015.

Dorothy was an active, devoted and committed member of The First Baptist Church in Waltham. At various points she served on all its boards for many years including the building committee, junior choir director and president of the Women’s Society for three years. As an accomplished pianist she was always willing to play during worship services. She served at the music liaison for the church until 2023. She also played the piano for the Shriners Tambourine Band for many years. She was a longtime member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In earlier years Dorothy was a telephone operator at New England Telephone Company and also a receptionist operator for W.B.Z. She served as secretary for meteorologist, Don Kent, for eight years on weekends.

Dorothy was a loyal member of the O.P.A. and the Educational Bureau in Ocean Park, Maine where she and her family spent many happy summers together.

Her family offers words of grateful thanks to Platinum Care and her two very special caregivers, Tandy Nyirenda and Cissy Ayebi and the wonderful care team of Care Dimensions Hospice.

She leaves her children, Ellen G. Licato (Michael) and Stephen D. Gardner (Catherine) all of Waltham; her grandchildren, Thomas Gardner, Kristin Gardner, Stephen Gardner Jr. (Lauren), Brian Gardner, Suzanne Licato DeGisi (Costantino); great-grandmother of Allison, Jillian and Vivian Gardner, Sadie, James and Payton Gardner, Vincenzo and Leah DeGisi, all of Waltham.

Family and friends will honor and remember Dorothy's life by gathering for calling hours in The Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main Street (Rte. 20), Waltham on Thursday, January 25th from 4 to 7 p.m. and again on Friday morning in The First Baptist Church, 400 Lexington Street, Waltham where her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Alonzo Chisholm will officiate. Burial in Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge will be at a later date. 

Memorial donations may be made First Baptist Church, 400 Lexington St., Waltham MA 02452 or The Educational Bureau, P.O. Box 7036, Ocean Park, ME 04063

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy L. (Thornburg) Gardner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 25, 2024

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 26, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Baptist Church-Waltham

400 Lexington St, Waltham, MA 02452

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