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We are profoundly sad to announce the sudden and unexpected death of our youngest daughter Laura. Born on May 23, 1993, she passed on to eternal life on July 9, 2022. She will be tremendously missed by her family, friends, and the many students her life has touched.
She was preceded in death by her maternal grandma, Patty Luchtenberg; paternal grandparents, Howard and Patty Gardner; and special cousin Ben Stecklein. Laura is survived by her parents, Jeff and Mary Gardner; siblings: Amy ( Rommy Miller), Rev. Tom, Billy (Maura), Julie(Charles Holbrook); nieces and nephew: Inti Miller, Chiara and Collette Gardner, and Maggie Jane Holbrook; grandpa: Dick Luchtenberg; and a great many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Laura was an accomplished musician. Her first love was the cello, but she was gifted with the ability to play many instruments, including violin, viola, bass, guitar, banjo, ukulele, trumpet, piano, and more. She had perfect pitch and had the pure “Irish soprano” voice of an angel. In high school, Laura played in the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Bexley Sinfonia Orchestra, and sang in the Bexley Women’s Chorale and Vocal Ensemble. She performed with the Vocal Ensemble at Carnegie Hall. Laura was honored to receive Bexley High School’s highest music award, the Music Cup, when she graduated in 2011.
Laura went on to excel at The Ohio State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Music Education in 2015. She sang in the OSU Women’s Glee and played in the OSU Symphony Orchestra. She also loved to draw, and gifted family and friends with imaginative sketches of themselves, their pets, or the beauty of nature.
After college and a year of subbing in Hilliard and Bexley, Laura worked for 5 years as Director of Orchestras for the Zanesville School District. During that time, she transformed their program and brought it to a high level of excellence. Under her baton, the high school orchestra went on to receive Superior Ratings at State Orchestra Contest for the first time in their 40 year history.
Laura always had a particular desire to work with middle school students, and in 2021 she took a position as the Orchestra Director at Heritage Middle School in the Newark School District. In her short time there, she had already begun to inspire their student musicians to a higher level of performance and was looking forward to continuing that work in the new school year. Laura also gave private lessons to many students throughout central Ohio. She was an inspiration to them and encouraged many to pursue a career in music.
Laura was a sweet, loving, beautiful young lady, soft spoken, kind, and incredibly generous. She had a very close, tight bond with all her siblings, most especially her two sisters. She loved being an aunt and doted on her nieces and nephew. She was very excited when her niece Maggie Jane was born on her birthday this year! Laura had a big heart that embraced a multitude of close family and friends. Through her generous decision to become an organ donor, Laura’s life will have a ripple effect to touch, save, and enhance the lives of many others to come. Words cannot express how much we will miss her.
Friends may call Tuesday, July 12 from 2-4 pm and 7-9 p.m. at Egan-Ryan Funeral Home, 403 East Broad Street. Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday at 10 am at St. Catharine Church, 500 South Gould Road. Burial to follow at Holy Trinity Cemetery, Somerset, Ohio.