Nov. 14, 1938 – Nov. 21, 2019
For Jane (Schirmer) Gardner, family was everything. As one of nine children born to Lester and Gladys Schirmer in Milford, she didn’t grow up with a lot of “stuff,” but she truly knew the value of family. She was never happier than when surrounded by family and friends, as she was when she passed away peacefully on Nov. 21, 2019, at age 81.
Jane started life as “one of the Schirmer girls” on Nov. 14, 1938. She attended Milford High School and briefly worked for State Farm insurance company before marrying high school sweetheart Jim Gardner on April 22, 1959. Together they built a home in Seward, where they raised three children and lived for more than 50 years.
For 32 of those years, Jane thoroughly enjoyed her job as secretary of Seward Middle School. She genuinely cared for the kids, and her fun, feisty sense of independence helped her blend both compassion and “tough love.” Generations of Seward kids remember both the warmth and candor of the woman they respectfully called Mrs. Gardner. As her kids grew up, you could find her at baseball games and wrestling meets, cheering on the teams. She retired only to enjoy the job title she cherished the most: Grandma.
She delighted in family vacations, hosting her annual Fourth of July backyard barbeque and celebrating Christmas with her grandkids. She also enjoyed the outdoors, whether it was fishing at Johnson or Branched Oak lakes, feeding the birds or just tending to her geraniums, roses and garden.
After losing her son Terry in 2014, she and Jim became actively involved in the Heartfelt Children’s Memorial, developing close friendships with all those involved. Even during the hardest times, she approached life with humor and honesty.
Jane was preceded in death by her parents; husband, James A. Gardner; son, Terry J. Gardner; sisters, Arlene Flake, June Jensen and Janet Fiedler; brothers, Allen Schirmer, Ted Schirmer, Ronald Schirmer and James Schirmer; sister-in-law, Shirley Gardner; and brother-in-law, Kenneth Miller.
She will be deeply missed by daughter, Linda Dubs-Cerny and husband Dan Cerny of Schuyler; son, Tim and wife Jill Gardner of Papillion; daughter-in-law, Pam Gardner of Des Moines, Iowa; sister, Virginia Miller of Rising City; sisters-in-law, Deralea Schirmer of Wentzville, Missouri, and Regi Schirmer of Lincoln; brother-in-law, Norm Fiedler of Lincoln; brother-in-law, Richard and wife Jean Gardner of Seward; brother-in-law, Lonny Gardner of Aurora, Colorado; grandchildren, Jasmine Dubs, Miguel Dubs, Justin Dubs, Matt Gardner, Rachel Gardner, Michael Gardner, MaRanda Nickolite, Terrin Cerny and Lane Cerny; great-grandchildren, Addy and Jagger Nickolite and Oakley Dubs; many nieces and nephews; and countless other relatives and friends.
A celebration of life service was Nov. 25, 2019, at Seward United Methodist Church, with the Rev. JoEllen Axthelm officiating. A graveside service and inurnment were in Greenwood Cemetery in Seward. Memorial contributions may be made to the Heartfelt Children’s Memorial or to the United Methodist Church Children’s Nature Center. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.zabkafuneralhome.com.