Bernard Clay Gardner, Sr., 1940-1960
BERNARD CLAY GARDNER served on the Court of Appeals of Georgia from 1940 until early 1961. He was born in Garden Valley, Georgia, February 14, 1882, and died June 9, 1962.
He attended the State Normal College in Athens; was graduated from the University of Georgia with an LL.B. degree in the Class of 1908; later was graduated from the Atlanta Division of the University of Georgia with a degree in commercial science; taught school at Barwick, Georgia; practiced law in Quitman, Albany, and Camilla; served eight years as Solicitor General and 12 years as Judge of the Superior Court in the Albany Judicial Circuit; served 21 years on the Court of Appeals of Georgia. He served for several years as trustee of the State Women's College.
He was married to Annie Williams Gardner, and they had three daughters, two sons, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Details of the Gardner family are provided in the memorial dated February 25, 1963, in 107 Georgia Appeals Reports, pages XXIX-XLI.
Governor Carl E. Sanders equated him with Mark Twain's four-square stand for the old-fashioned values of honesty, loyalty, courage, and devotion to duty, that one could look his fellow man squarely in the eye when he is open and sincere, and that you owed your fellow man a square deal in that no one is above or below the law.
Two gems of sage advice on how to succeed in the practice of law that Judge Gardner passed on to others were: (1) Stay in your office, or keep the store. (2) Make certain that all your papers, pleadings, and documents are prepared on time and with care and thoroughness so that they are always in good order. One of his colleagues said: "It was his feeling that all his efforts be dedicated to the proposition that justice should prevail in every case in which he participated. There were no unimportant cases for him... We shall never forget him."