Mrs. Carolyn Smith Gardner

  • Born: June 29, 1922
  • Died: April 8, 2014
  • Location: Forest City, North Carolina

McMahan's Funeral Home

249 S Main St
Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Tel. (828) 287-4715

Tribute & Message From The Family

Carolyn Smith Gardner, age 91, of Forest City died Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at the Hospice House of Rutherford County. A native of Pawtucket, RI she was the daughter of the late William and Bertha Smith. Carolyn was a graduate of Northampton Commercial College, Northampton Mass. During World War II she worked for the Quartermaster Corps at Westover Field Air Force Base and following the war, worked as an executive secretary with the American Thread Company for several years. She moved to Marion NC with her husband in 1953, to Charlotte NC in 1958, and to Forest City NC in 1963.

Carolyn became involved in Republican politics in Charlotte, and served as vice-chair of the Rutherford County Republican Party for eight years, as County Chair for another eight years, and several terms as President of the County Republican Women's Club. She co-managed the County campaigns of Jim Holshouser for Governor, and later the campaign of Senator Jim Broyhill. She was appointed to the State Manpower Commission by Governor Holshouser and was a gubernatorial appointee to the County DSS Board during Governor Martin's administration and served another two terms on the DSS Board as Community Representative. She also served on the Community Child Protection Team, Child Fatality Task Force and DSS Adoption Committee.

Mrs. Gardner served as a member of the County, District and State Republican Executive Committees for several years and was an Honorary Life Member of the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women and a member of the North Carolina Republican Party Hall of Fame. She was honored with North Carolina's highest civilian award, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine; the Carolyn Smith Gardner Award for Republican Excellence was established by the Rutherford County Republican Party in her honor.

A member of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Rutherfordton, Carolyn was a former church secretary, a former member of the vestry, a former member of the choir and former choir director. She is survived by her husband of 62 years Lawrence (Larry) and four children; Bill and wife Denise of Caroleen; Scott and wife Anne of Durham, Betty Gardner Underwood and husband Gerald Underwood of Monroe, NC and Kathy Gardner Dickson and husband Herb of Indian Trail NC. Four grandchildren: Josh Gardner, Laura Gardner Neely, Eric Gardner and Drew Gardner. One great grandson Dylan Gardner.

A memorial service for Mrs. Gardner will be held on Friday April 11, 2013 at 1;00 PM at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Rutherfordton with The Reverend Chris Beebe officiating. The visitation will follow the memorial service in the Church Parish House till 3:30 PM. A private burial will be held in Eternal Hills Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Francis Episcopal Church or to Hospice of Rutherford County. Online guest register at McMahan's Funeral Home and Cremation Services is in charge of the arrangements.


Condolence & Memory Journal

It brings sadness to my heart to learn of the passing of Carolyn Gardner. For a number of years, I was involved in Republican politics in Western North Carolina, and Carolyn was always a person who could be depended upon to offer wise counsel. I have admired her from the time we first met and consider it a privilege to have known her and Larry...both very fine people and GREAT AMERICANS! May God's comfort be with all the family during this most difficult time. Please know that the thoughts and prayers of many are going your way. Doug Huntley, Laurinburg, NC

Posted by Doug Huntley - Laurinburg, NC - Fellow Reputlican   April 11, 2014

Kathy, Bet and the Gardner Family

So sorry to learn of the passing of your Mother. May God wrap his arms around
each of you and give the love and comfort only he can give. You are in our
thoughts and prayers.

Gordon & Bobbi Shannon

Posted by Gordon & Bobbi Shannon - Wingate, NC - Friends   April 11, 2014

God bless your wonderful family. As you all know, Mrs. Gardner was, and always will be, very special to many people, including me.

Posted by Larry Ford - Forest City, NC - Friend   April 10, 2014


Dear Uncle Bud, Bill & Denise, Scott & Anne, Betty & Gerry, Kathy & Herb,

My loving thoughts and prayers are with you and the whole family. Many wonderful memories with Aunt Carolyn at many family reunions, Aunt Carolyn would be there and I would hear great stories, loved the history she shared. Her ever presence in our family memory will always be with us. She was a proud American, I am very proud to have been able to call her my Aunt. God Speed, Rest in Peace our dear Aunt Carolyn. You will be dearly miss by many. xo

Anne Groff

Posted by Anne - Nashua, NH - Niece   April 10, 2014

I have many fond memories of your mother. She was a real role model for young women and what we could accomplish. May she rest in peace and may you find comfort at this time.


Posted by Randy & Cheryl McKinney    April 09, 2014

So very sorry for the loss of your Mom. You all are in my thoughts and prayers as you remember your sweet Mom. I'm asking the Lord to bless your family with added strength, peace, and comfort....

Posted by Susan Hemphill Simpson    April 09, 2014

Dear Larry, and Bill and Scott, Bette and Kathy,
Our deepest sympathy for your loss. We are keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.
Much love, Cathy and Tim

Posted by Cathy and Tim Sylvia - Ellicott City, MD - family   April 09, 2014


We send our condolences to Uncle Larry and all our NC cousins. Carolyn was a wonderful wife, mother and aunt who will be greatly missed. Kitty and I have made a donation to the Hospice of Rutherford County in her memory. Our thoughts and prayers are headed your way!!!

Posted by Jim and Kitty Gardner - San Antonio, TX - Nephew   April 09, 2014

Bill and family,

Thoughts and prayers are with you in the passing of your beloved mom. She was a wonderful lady, always a joy to be around. May God bless you all during this time. My Best, Tom(my).

Posted by Tom Perry - Newberry, SC - friend   April 09, 2014

Dear Gardner family~

You are a TRUE force of God. I have witnessed you in action. Stay strong through God's love! Lean on each other and lift each other up. God's grace walks through you. IF He takes you to it ~ He will see you through it. The Lord our God WILL see you through this. Love and prayers for all.

Love, Katie

Posted by Katie Wilkie Simmons    April 09, 2014

so sorry for the loss to the entire Gardner family - my thoughts are with all of you

Posted by maureen neely - dublin, OH   April 09, 2014


Dear Family, you are in our Thoughts and Prayers. God Bless
Love, Bunny, Jim & Gloria

Posted by Bunny, Jim & Gloria - Englewood, FL - Niece and Sister-in-law   April 08, 2014