Terry Gardner

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Terry Lamar Gardner


In office
December 27, 2018 – June 28, 2022 (death)
Preceded by Tommy Davis
Succeeded by Tommy Davis (interim)

Born May 18, 1954
Shreveport, Louisiana
Died June 28, 2022 (aged 68)
Minden, Louisiana
Resting place Forest Park West Cemetery
in Shreveport

Death cause:
Pancreatic cancer

Nationality American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican (2014)
Spouse(s) Deborah Ann Walker Gardner (married 1993-2022, his death)
Children Harold Gardner (deceased)

Parents:
Aubrey Faye and Joyce Lewis Gardner

Alma mater Fair Park High School in Shreveport
Occupation Businessman

Founder of the Gardner Group

Religion Southern Baptist

Terry Lamar Gardner, known as TG Gardner (May 18, 1954 – June 28, 2022),[1] was a businessman who served as the 56th mayor of Minden, Louisiana. A Republican, he was the fourth member of his party to hold the position since 1966. A victor by thirty-seven votes in the nonpartisan blanket primary held on November 6, 2018, Gardner assumed office on December 27, 2018.

Political background

Gardner was a native of Shreveport, the son of Aubrey Faye Gardner (1929-2003) and the former Joyce Lewis (1932-1990).[2] He graduated in 1973 from Fair Park High School, since disbanded by the Caddo Parish School Board.[3]

His mother was highly engaged in political activism, Gardner moved to Minden at the age of twenty-four in 1978, to take a position with the tobacco company, Philip Morris USA.[4][5] Gardner was the only mayor of Minden who previously lost three races for the city council before becoming mayor. In 2003, running as a Democrat, he lost a council race to incumbent Republican Robert Drew White (born October 28, 1966), the son of a former Minden city attorney and the grandson of the late state representative R. Harmon Drew, Sr., a descendant from one of the earliest families in Webster Parish. In 2006, still a Democrat, he lost the council race to Republican Tommy Davis, his predecessor as mayor. In 2014, running for the first time as a Republican, Gardner was defeated, 64 to 36 percent, by fellow Republican Michael Scott "Mike" Toland (born October 28, 1959), who did not seek reelection to the council in 2018.

When Mayor Davis stepped down after five years in the position, Gardner ran against the only Democrat in the race, William Kerry "Winky" Newer (born June 4, 1962), the previous long-term municipal recreation director who carried Davis' support. Newer said that had he been elected he would have sought to strengthen municipal financial growth. "I will continue our attempts to lower the electrical rates by all means possible. We must continue our effort to attract new industry and business to our area," he said.

Through his Gardner Group, he owned several businesses in downtown Minden. “The citizens of Minden are just remarkable. I want to run for mayor because Minden has been so good to me over the last thirty-five years. They’ve supported me and my businesses and enabled us to grow our businesses.”[5] Gardner was opposed to increasing municipal fees and taxes and soughtk to upgrade the municipal infrastructure through the hiring of a full-time grants writer, who would seek revenues from outside sources.[6]

In a campaign characterized primarily by the aggressive display of yard signs, Gardner emerged victorious over Newer, 2,164 to 2,127. Turnout was 53.7 percent of registered voters.[7]

Death

Gardner was married to the former Deborah Ann "Debbie" Walker (born May 19, 1957).[6] He was predeceased by a son, Harold Gardner.

Gardner had been seeking a second term as mayor in the November 8 primary election. Governor John Bel Edwards appointed former Mayor Tommy Davis as the interim mayor through the end of Gardner's term on December 31, 2022. Gardner died suddenly of pancreatic cancer in Minden at the age of sixty-eight. The illness had been diagnosed on May 23, 2022. Previous Mayor Bill Robertson died in office on June 27, 2013. Robertson was the Minden mayor who served for 22.5 years, longer than all others.

Gardner's services were held at the First Baptist Church, of which he as an active member. He is interred at Forest Park West Cemetery in Shreveport.[8]

Minden Chief Steve Cropper recalled that when Gardner was elected mayor, "I think it was the proudest I’ve ever seen him. He was probably the biggest fan of the city of Minden than anybody I’ve ever met in my life. He loved Minden.”[8]

References

  1. Minden Mayor Terry Gardner Passes Away. Minden Press-Herald (June 28, 2022).
  2. Joyce Lewis Gardner. findagrave.com. Retrieved on July 1, 2022.
  3. Terry L. Gardner obituary. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on July 1, 2022.
  4. Juliuna Anderson (December 3, 2018). Meet Mayor-elect Terry Gardner Looking Forward. The Minden Press-Herald.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Christian Piekes (October 10, 2018). Two vying to be Minden's mayor. KSLA (CBS in Shreveport). Retrieved on November 28, 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gardner announces Minden mayoral bid. The Minden Press-Herald (July 16, 2018). Retrieved on July 18, 2018.
  7. Louisiana Secretary of State, Election Returns, November 6, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Wake planned for Minden Mayor Terry Gardner. KTAL-TV in Shreveport (June 29, 2022). Retrieved on June 30, 2022.