In Corinth Mississippi, on Dec 6, 1964, Benjamin Lee Gardner (Benny) was born to the loving family of Daisy Lee Ratliff and Angus Dee Gardner Sr.The Gardner household was already bursting with Benny’s six other siblings; Vic Ratliff, Angus Gardner (AJ) Jr., Sylvia (Otis) Taylor, Linda(Lorenzo) Bolden, Mary (Greg) Carter, Sammy (Samantha) Gardner. The times Benny spent in MS., with his Big Momma (his mother’s mother) and his cousins would shape him for the rest of his life.When Benny was seven years old, the Gardner family moved to Champaign, IL. It was Benny’s brilliant mind and zeal for learning, that had him starting H.S. at the age of 13. As the Gardner's settled into life in Champaign, Benny had the opportunity to attend both Central and Centennial High School, where he gathered a vast array of lifelong friends.Just after Benny graduated H.S he entered into the armed forces as an Army linguistic specialist, where he traveled to Germany. In Europe Benny was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing semi-professional football (not soccer, but actually football). At the end of Benny’s time overseas he returned to the States where he met and married Angelina (Angel) Susanna Ramondi. Together Benny and Angel would parent Robert Russell, Tijuana (Ray Kersh) Russell, and Courtney (Jimmy Buskirk) Akhtar. Even though their union did not last, their love and commitment to their children endures.It was shortly after, the electrical trade called Benny. During this time Benny rediscovered his passion for drawing, the role playing game Dungeons and Dragons, and he also found the time to learn to play the drums and bass guitar. Benny loved his family and spending time with his extended family was always a priority with him.After 20 plus years of service in the IBEW union, Benny left to join the City of Urbana Public Works (UPW) department. It was Benny’s thirst for knowledge that led him to become a Master Electrician on his own time. At UPW Benny excelled in his tasks and worked his way from electrician to signal technician, then to Electrical supervisor.As his professional life was coming together, Benny met a woman on the fateful night of July 5, 2013. This woman he would call his Queen, was Bernice Dallas . Benny and Bernice were joined in matrimony on April 16,2016. This blending would unite Benny’s big family with Bernice’s son Joshua and their family. Throughout the years Benny would mentor and become a surrogate dad, a Pops, to many of their children’s friends, one such young man is Isaac Wade.On the morning of December 22, 2020 the LORD called his favorite son home. Benny was at home with his loving wife when he transitioned. Benny leaves his wife Bernice, their children Rob, Tijuanda, Courtney, Josh,Isaac; his grandchildren Sicellia, Kameron Lee, Jaydan, Ava, Yazzmein,Perry, Brayden, Maya, Rajeim, and Maya; his father Angus; his siblings Vic, AJ, Sylvia, Linda, Mary, Sammy; and a host of cousins, nieces,nephews, aunts, uncles, along with treasured friends to honor his memory. Benny was preceded into death by his loving mother, Daisy Lee Gardner.
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