A true servant of the Lord, Paula Camille Richardson Gardner, affectionately known as “Shy,” passed away peacefully in her home on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Michael’s Chapel at the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans on Saturday, May 14, at 10:00 a.m. Officiating will be the Reverend Peter B. Magnum. Interment will follow at Forest Park Cemetery.
Shy was born to Dorothy and Camille Richardson on April 13, 1937. She graduated from C. E. Byrd High School in 1955. She was a cheerleader, was elected Governor at Louisiana Girls’ State in 1954, was Homecoming Queen in 1954 and was named a Byrd Senior Favorite. Her years at Byrd were among her most treasured memories.
Shy graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in Speech Pathology.
She lived in South Florida where she raised her children, Mary Frances O’Malley and Patrick Camille O’Malley. She worked as a speech therapist for 15 years in the Broward County School System. Helping the poor and underprivileged became her life’s passion after a mission to Haiti with the Food for the Poor organization. Focused on helping others, she co-founded and helped open Our Father’s House, a soup kitchen in Deerfield, Florida, and later volunteered at the San Isidro Food Ministry for the next 15 years. She was devoted to helping those less fortunate and her missionary work changed the lives of many people.
Shy returned to Shreveport in 2003 to be closer to her family and soon reconnected with and rekindled an old relationship with Dr. Gale Gardner, to whom she was married in 2007. She remained eternally grateful to God for bringing “Doc” back into her life and for giving them 15 years together, during which they made many precious memories traveling and enjoying the company of family and friends.
Also, after returning to Shreveport, she spearheaded her high school friends into a monthly group called the “Lunch Bunch,” which celebrated birthdays and other special occasions.
She was a charter member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and devoted many hours to the church’s Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, serving as president for several years. She was also an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and a Sacristan.
For most of her adult life, she attended Mass daily and, in her great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, received permission from Fr. Magnum to form a group that recites the Holy Rosary immediately following the daily 12:05 Mass. Shy also frequently attended an early evening Mass at St. Joseph. She was a member of the Marquette Reading Group.
Shy always thought of her family first. All were made to feel special and loved. To know Shy gave the assurance that problems, joys, sadness, or happiness were a part of her life, especially her prayer life. Her deep faith was evident in her daily life, and she was always ready to share her love for the Lord with others. God gave us an angel and she will live on in our hearts.
Words fail Shy’s entire family in showing appreciation for Charlotte Gardner Burke for all the love and devotion she gave Shy during her illness. Her many trips to and from Austin, and her management of Shy’s business and personal needs have been invaluable. God bless you, Charlotte. The family will be eternally grateful to you.
Shy was preceded in death by her parents, her son Patrick, and nephew John Peter Davis. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Gale Gardner; daughter, Mary Frances; granddaughter Mary Margaret Wright; grandson Sidney Wright; sister Ann Peters Calhoun; brothers Eugene “Gene” Allen Richardson (Harryette) and Donald Fulk Richardson (Wesley, deceased); nieces Dorothy Elizabeth Allen and Amy Wood (Franklin); nephews Dr. Paul Michael Davis (Janet), Allen Richardson (Shay), Carter Richardson (Lori), Christopher Richardson (Andi) and Camden Richardson (Peter); cousins Lorna Camus, Mary Catherine Rollo, and Joe Garland (Vicky); great nieces Ann Marie Allen Crooker (Matthew), Elissa Ann Nava (Mark), Lola Richardson, Olivia Richardson, Elizabeth Hunter, Sible Hunter; great nephews Zachary Davis, Michael Davis (Erin), Dr. Stephen Davis (Allison), William Davis, Peter Wood, Lin Wood, Campbell Richardson and William Richardson, and great-great niece Alivia Nava.
Shy is also survived by many beloved relatives in the Gardner family: Lauren Gardner Smith (Greg) Angie Gardner (Tony), Charlotte Gardner Burke (Matt), David Gardner (Pia), Courtney Humphreys (McKee), Lawrence Elliott (Tim), Davis Smith, Macie Smith, Max Burke, Ollie Burke, Ari Gardner, Ruby Gardner, Tucker, Heloise and Annie Humphreys, Eliza and Briggs Elliott.
Shy received excellent care from her team of doctors, nurses, and caregivers. Among these are Dr. Richard Mansour, Dr. Chris Graham, Rachel Langford, RN, and Feist-Weiller Cancer Center at LSU Health Shreveport; Dr. Robert Hernandez, Brooke Moseley, RN, Diana Fort, RN and Eileen Lewis at Lifepath Hospice; Elizabeth Stewart, DSW, Jennifer Sadler, DSW, Pat McManus, CNA, Jan Reed, LPN, Sheldon Snow, DSW and the administrative staff at Preferred Care at Home; Diane Thomas and Joe Brainis. Special appreciation is expressed by the family for Shy’s long-time loyal friends Sue and Donald Crow.
Honorary pallbearers are Michael Davis, Stephen Davis, William Davis, Zachary Davis, Davis Smith, Max Burke and Ollie Burke.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations be sent to Feist-Weiller Cancer Center at LSU Health Shreveport, 1501 Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA, 71103, or the St. Joseph Conference, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 10106 Los Altos Drive, Shreveport, LA, 71115, or another charity of the donor’s choice.
She is not sent away, but only sent before,
Like unto a star, which, going out of our sight,
Doth not die and vanish,
but shineth in another hemisphere,
Ye see her not, yet she doth shine
In another country.
Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Paula Camille Gardner, please visit our floral store.