Blanco County News
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Thomas Rayburn Gardner
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 • Posted June 7, 2012

Thomas Rayburn Gardner, of Blanco, Texas died in Austin on May 30, 2012, at the age of 83. Tom is loved and adored by his wife Deena (Willodyne) Chapple Gardner, three daughters, Sandra Southwell, Susan Pierce, Sally Scheuer, and son Derry T. Gardner. He was affectionately known as “Paw Paw” by his eight grandchildren and as “Mr. Barb-B-Q” by all the friends and family who enjoyed his Sunday cook-outs! Tom married Deena in 1950, then saw his three daughters married - Sandra to Steven Southwell, Susan to Danny Pierce, and Sally to Paul Scheuer, and his son Derry to Kimberly Dufour Gardner.

Tom was born on July 22, 1928 in Austin to Judge Harris Gardner and Clair Gardner, and grew up in Austin, when it was still Austin. He was the third of three children, with brother James Harris Gardner and the now deceased Jaqueline Darby. Tom was a self-made man who began with a position at the Texas Highway Department and ended up as one of the most respected and revered real estate appraisers in the Austin area. He obtained his MAI from the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers in 1976 and was heavily involved with the South Texas Chapter of the Society of Real Estate Appraisers, being president of the Austin Chapter in 1968 and 1972. Tom also served as president of the South Texas Chapter of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers in 1982. Along with running his own real estate appraisal firm, he was always involved with the community, including The Austin Optimist Club for several years and the Downtown Rotary Club for several years. He and his son Derry formed Gardner Appraisal Group, Inc. in 1983, where he worked until his retirement in 2000. For several years, Tom and son Derry would take off to Colorado for two weeks every summer on the motorcycles – which he enjoyed riding in his younger days. He and Deena moved to Blanco in 2000, where they enjoyed traveling to Colorado in the summers, and getting to know new friends. Tom and Deena maintained ties with Austin and want to thank Dr. Ace Alsup, Dr. Archie Robinson, and Dr. Juhana Karha.

Tom never knew a stranger and his unique knack for storytelling is legend among his many friends and family members. Tom had a standing date every week with his cohorts in Blanco, “the Motley Bunch," a group of like-minded sages who solved the problems of the world on a weekly basis. He relished taking long walks with his beloved dog Chipper and working on projects out in his favorite hide-away, “ The Outpost." His greatest joy was spending time with his family and puttering around his son’s ranch. He was devoted to his wife Deena, his lovely “bride," doted on his three daughters, and called his son his best friend. Tom was a consummate giver, generous to all, and he embraced a “joie d’vivre” that was unrivaled. He will be sorely missed by all. If Tom Gardner could leave a parting remark it would be: “Whiskey for my friends and beer for my horses. Hasta la vista!”

Services were held at the St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church at 2:00 Sunday, June 3, 2012, located at 218 Pittsburg in Blanco, Texas. Honorary pallbearers are Glen Ab Walters, Frank Sevren, Marty Glen, Phil McCormick, Tom Martine, Ken Sours, Travis Hurd, and Tony Johnson.

Memorial contributions in Tom’s name may be made to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation at

Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at

Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 – (512) 452-8811

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