Shari Kay Gardner passed away peacefully on January 14, 2023 at the age of 73 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. She was a resident of the Escalante at Draper Assisted Living & Memory Care in Draper, Utah.
Shari was born to William and Anna Katherine Swenson on October 26, 1949 in Ontario, Oregon. She grew up in Caldwell and Boise, Idaho with her parents and three brothers. She attended Borah High School where she was a member of the drill team and graduated in 1968. She married Mark Tennyson in 1970 and moved to a 20-acre farm west of Eagle. A few years later they sold the farm and purchased a home in Meridian. Shari and Mark had three children together, Faryl, Casey, and Toby. They later divorced.
Mom worked hard to support her children by taking on two jobs and attending night classes at BSU, until she met Stephen (Steve) Ray Gardner. They were married and sealed in the Boise, Idaho Temple on November 4, 1984. Together, they were blessed with a daughter, Charisse. During the summer of 1989 they moved the family to Farmington, UT. In 1996 they moved back to Meridian where they built a home and were part of the Meridian Greens Ward. Mom loved those years of life, often referring to the Meridian Greens Ward as, “a little bit of heaven on earth.”
Mom was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and always carried a strong, unwavering conviction of her beliefs. She had many callings serving in church auxiliaries, including: Young Women’s, Primary, Relief Society, and Sunday School. She regularly volunteered at the Boise temple. She loved genealogy and enjoyed researching stories about her family’s history and boring us kids with stories of distant ancestors around the world that she learned about on the internet. Mom was a feisty, independent woman with a robust sense of humor. She was always willing to help those in need.
Mom and Dad would travel often together. Their favorite trip was exploring the ancient ruins in Mexico. Mom always maintained a voracious appetite for continuous learning. She loved reading, sewing, crafting, cooking, listening to music, and dancing with Steve. She was most happy when sitting with family around the dinner table reminiscing and swapping stories. Mom was a favorite of the care givers at the memory care facility. Nicknamed the “Dancing Lady” because she would often start dancing whenever music was playing nearby, especially, music from The Eagles or The Beatles. Shari was loved by many because of her kindness and witty sense of humor. We will miss mom’s soft voice and infectious laugh every day until we are reunited with her as an eternal family. We find great consolation in knowing she has concluded an honorable life and is now reunited with her mom (passed away in 1998) and her eternal companion (passed away in 2009). Not a day went by that she did not pine to be with them again.
Mom was preceded in death by her parents, step-children: Christina, David, and Scott; as well as her eternal companion, Steve. Shari is survived by her three brothers: Carl Swenson (Jan), Jay Swenson, and Joe Swenson (Cynthia); her children Faryl Tennyson, Casey Tennyson (Kimi), Toby Tennyson (Elizabeth), Charisse Thompson (Kody); her step-children Becky Lundquist (Bruce), Jeff Gardner (Andrea); 18 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
We are especially grateful for the staff and professionals of Escalante Memory Care and the Hospice team in Draper, Utah. Thank you for the loving compassion you showed our mother.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 24 at 11:00 am at the Cloverdale Funeral Home located at 1200 North Cloverdale Rd, Boise, Idaho. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Alzheimer’s Association in Shari’s name.