Gardner Taught at Nebraska Law For Over Four Decades

Martin Ralph Gardner
Nov. 3, 1944 – Nov. 27, 2019

Law professor Martin Ralph Gardner, 75, of Lincoln, died Nov. 27 following a brief illness.

Gardner served 42 years in the University of Nebraska’s College of Law, teaching family law, juvenile law, criminal law and criminal procedure.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gardner was a retired member of the Utah and Nebraska National Guard bands with 20 years of service on clarinet. He attended the University of Utah, receiving a Bachelor of Science in 1969 and a Juris Doctorate in 1972. He also served as editor for the Utah Law Review.

His 47 years in academia launched with a one-year law instructor position at Indiana University. He was on the faculty of the University of Alabama’s School of Law from 1973-77, and he served as a law fellow at Harvard University in 1975-76. 

Gardner joined the University of Nebraska College of Law as an assistant professor in 1977, advancing to associate professor in 1978 and full professor in 1980.

In 1987, Gardner was named the Steinhart Foundation Professor of Law and, in 2002, the Cline Williams-Flavel A. Wright Professor of Law.

Gardner’s time at Nebraska and Alabama led to the publication of many articles and books, including “Understanding Juvenile Law,” which is in its fifth edition. He also taught family law at Downing College at Cambridge University in 2006 and 2013.

Gardner cherished his family and students. He loved the music of Ralph Vaughn Williams, Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler and the Bach B minor Mass. He was also a fan of golf and Husker football and basketball. Gardner was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Gardner is survived by his wife, Anne Sheedy; children, Joshua (Paula) Gardner, Erin Gardner, Bryn Gardner (Miles Kos), Lynsey (Alex) Stewart, Jacob Gardner and Max Yeston; sisters, Janice Ruth Tabish and Sharon Gardner Howes; nine grandchildren; and former spouse, Jane Murdoch. He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Elaine Gardner.

Services celebrating Gardner’s life are planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3000 Old Cheney Road in Lincoln.

The family requests donations made in Gardner’s honor to the Lincoln Community Foundation for the Faith Coalition of Lancaster County or the Nebraska National Guard Foundation.

– Wyuka Funeral Home

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