Cover photo for Doris Arlene Gardner's Obituary
Doris Arlene Gardner Profile Photo
1932 Doris 2021

Doris Arlene Gardner

June 26, 1932 — June 17, 2021

Doris Knight Desmond Gardner, surrounded by family and loved ones passed away on June 17, 2021 in Madison AL.  Doris, nicknamed Little Doe, was born in Mt. Vernon, NY on June 26, 1932 to the late Doris and Frank Knight.

Doris loved her faith and converted to Catholicism at 17. Doris spent much of her life teaching religious education. A daily communicant, her devotion led many to enrich their own spiritual lives.

In the early 1960s, she was active in Albany politics, the Civil Rights Movement and opened her home to refugees from around the world. Her young children appreciated the delicious international meals and culture they were introduced to around the kitchen table.

Doris married Richard Desmond in 1952 and was a devoted mother of seven. Doris ran a tight ship; yet her home was always open to anyone in the neighborhood, to play music, talk through a problem, or pray the Rosary. 

In 1980, she married the wonderful David Gardner, her loving husband of 41 years. Together, they lived their faith and travelled across the country and the world. As Doris often said, “I go to where I’m needed most.” 

Doris had a quick, impish wit and a bright smile along with a gift for storytelling, which she passed down to her children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren. 

Doris was predeceased by her daughter, Donna Smetana and her brothers, Jimmy, Frankie, and Billie Knight.

She is survived by her husband, David Gardner, children, and their spouses: Denise Desmond, (Rob Picotte) of Diamond Point, NY, Richard Desmond (Amy) of Rhinebeck, NY, Dianne Pedinotti, (David) of Saratoga, NY, Dolores Hansen (Bob) of Huntsville, AL, Son-in-law Jim Smetana of Malta NY, Danielle Allen of Saratoga, NY, Sean Desmond of Seattle, WA, Jade Gardner of Saratoga County. Her sister Jean Light (Ed) of Nassau, NY and brother George Knight (Caroline) Myrtle Beach SC. 

Whether addressed as Beana or Grandma Darling, Doris is survived by 21 grand-children and 22 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews who will never forget her. 

The Funeral Mass for Mrs. Gardner will be on Monday June 21st at 11am at St John the Baptist Church, 1055 Hughes Rd, Madison AL 35758.

The Mass will be Live-streamed at:

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Doris’ favorite shrine, The National Shrine of Divine Mercy, 2 Prospect Hill, Stockbridge MA 01262.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Doris Arlene Gardner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Mass

Monday, June 21, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church

1055 Hughes Rd, Madison, AL 35758

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