OPELOUSAS – Funeral services will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 30, 2021, in the Skip Montet Memorial Chapel at Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home for Claire Castille Gardner. Rite of Committal and interment will follow in the Bellevue Memorial Park. Father Laurent De Prins will celebrate services on behalf of Epiphany Episcopal.
Claire was a native and long-time resident of Opelousas. She passed away on Sunday, January 24, 2021, at Senior Village Nursing Home in Opelousas at the age of 80. She was a teacher, poet, homemaker, friend, and counselor but above all things, a mother.
Claire is survived by five sons – Tom Gardner and wife Ann Lejeune Gardner of Westlake; Stuart Gardner and wife Francine Sibille Gardner of Cankton; Ken Gardner and wife Peggy Flynn Gardner of St. Louis, Missouri; Clay Gardner of Carencro; and Seth Gardner and wife Brenda King Gardner of Marietta, Georgia. She also has fourteen grandchildren: Ross Gardner, Erik Gardner, Diana Gardner Kennedy, Kathleen Gardner, Spencer Gardner, Lee Gardner, Lainie Gardner Richard, Lucius Gardner, Nathan Gardner, Abigail Gardner Travous, Madelyn Gardner, Catherine Claire Gardner, Bishop Gardner, and Cordelia Gardner; two step-grandchildren, Justina and Lacey Lejeune, and 6 great-grandchildren; Anthony Gardner, Celest Gardner, Everett Fontenot, Ayden Fontenot, Jacelyn LeJeune, Arabella Kennedy, and Juliana Kennedy.
Pallbearers will be Ross Gardner, Erik Gardner, Lee Gardner, Nathan Gardner, Spencer Gardner, and Lucius Gardner.
Claire was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Donald S. Gardner, Jr. They were high school sweet-hearts and both attended and graduated from LSU. She also was preceded in death by her brother, Lucius Alan Castille, and her parents, Lucius Castille and Althea “Teenie” Goudeau Castille.
Claire was a kind, gentle person whose beautiful welcoming smile was matched with the caring compassionate soul that she carried within. She never met a stranger without leaving an impact on them and no question in their mind that she won “Miss Congeniality” at the Miss Louisiana pageant in her late teens.
Claire was a lifelong member of Epiphany Episcopal church in Opelousas and a member of the Bellevue Homemaker’s club for many years going on many adventures and best of all, bringing home many good recipes. She was a wonderful cook and contributor to a number of editorial food columns in the Daily World and the Advocate, often about her collections of recipes and stories about her children and grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, monetary donations can be made in memory of Mrs. Claire to the Mental Health Foundation (www.mentalhealthfoundation.org).
Visitation will be held on Friday, January 29, 2021, from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Skip Montet Memorial Chapel in the Lafond Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas and will reopen at 10am on Saturday with the funeral service beginning at 2pm.
Family and friends are invited to sign and view the online guestbook at www.lafondardoin.com.
Lafond-Ardoin Funeral Home of Opelousas (2845 South Union Street, Opelousas, LA 70570) at 337-942-2638 has been entrusted with the funeral arrangements.