In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Vera Mae Gardner, 86

Vera Mae Gardner, 1933-2020

Vera Mae Gardner, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel among Southeast Asian Affinity Peoples in Thailand, died June 4, 2020. She was 86.

Gardner was born Aug. 19, 1933, in Garden City, Kansas, to the late Mr. and Mrs. Perry L. Gardner. Her father’s job as a civil engineer took the family to several cities in Kansas while she was growing up and she graduated from Ellis (Kan.) High School.

She received the Bachelor of Science in medical technology from Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Missouri, received a diploma from John Peter Smith Hospital School of Nursing, Fort Worth, Texas, and attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth. She worked as a medical technologist and after nursing school she worked as a registered nurse in two Forth Worth hospitals.

Although Gardner had accepted Jesus as her Savior as a child, she wrote when seeking missionary appointment, her faith grew over the years. While at First Baptist Church, Marshall, during college, she wrote, she kept hearing, “Follow me—follow me, as a medical missionary.” Realizing God was asking her all, she spent several sleepless nights before saying “yes” without reservations.

In December 1962, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed her a missionary to Thailand. She served 36 years, doing medical work and evangelism in Bangkla, SaKaew, Kabinburi and Sakaeo.

Gardener was living in Garden Plain, Kansas, at the time of her death.

A graveside service was held June 13, 2020, at Louisburg (Kan.) Cemetery.

Donations may be made to a memorial established with the International Mission Board, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230.

Read an obituary here.