Bunk Gardner — of Mayfield, Graves County, Ky.
Democrat. Lawyer; municipal judge in Kentucky, 1902-15; district judge in Kentucky 1st District, 1916-22; U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, 1935-38; U.S. District Judge for Canal Zone, 1938-48. Member, Odd Fellows; Elks.
Died in Mayfield, Graves County, Ky., October 27, 1960 (age 84 years, 338 days). Interment at Highland Park Cemetery.
Judge Bunk Gardner
Died Here Thursday
Retired Federal Judge Bunk Gardner, recently a central figure in one of Kentucky's most celebrated court battles, died at the Fuller-Morgan Hospital here at 8:25 p.m. Thursday. Judge Gardner was 83.
His career on the bench began in 1916 and ended with his retirement in 1948. Within those 32 years he won his reputation as a skillful attorney and an able judge.
Judge Gardner's death climaxed a long illness aggravated earlier this year by a broken hip.
Survivors include his widow, Mrs. Winnie Winn Gardner, a son, Bunk Gardner, Jr.; and two grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at Byrn Funeral Home by the Rev. James M. Gilbert, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Pallbearers will be Billy Harp, Boll Creason, Jr., L.M.T. Reed, Bill Hale, Berry Craig and Dr. Robert Orr.
Bunk Gardner, Jr. and his father waged an exhaustive court battle in an effort to invalidate the will of the judge's multimillionaire brother, Ed Gardner.
The case still is before the Court of Appeals.
Judge Gardner was born Nov. 24, 1875, in Mayfield, the son of Bunk Gardner, a merchant.
He quit school at 15 and worked in a clothing store. He remained there until he was 23, studying law on the side in the office of Samuel Crumland.
At 24 Judge Gardner was admitted to the Kentucky bar and became Mayfield city judge, a position he held for 17 years.
In 1916 he was elected circuit judge of the First District, and after six years at that post returned to private law practice.
In 1933, Judge Gardner, a lifelong Democrat, went to Washington after the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
He kept this post until 1935, when Roosevelt named him U.S. district attorney for Western Kentucky. After three years there, he was appointed by Roosevelt to be federal judge in the Canal Zone.
Judge Gardner held this position for 10 years and in 1948 he retired and returned to Mayfield.
Ten years later -in 1958- Ed Gardner died, beginning a series of events that found Judge Gardner on the opposite of the bench where he had spent most of his career.
Ed Gardner's will left his estate, estimated from $8 million to $12 million, in the Annie Gardner Foundation. This was a foundation set up in the name of his late wife.
Judge Gardner claimed that probated will was invalid because it did not carry his brother's signature and that some pages had been changed after the will was written.
Circuit Judge Elvis J. Stahr ultimately ruled for Gardner and his son, but the decision was appealed to the Court of Appeals by the First National Bank of Mayfield on behalf of the Annie Gardner Foundation.
A final decision by the high court is pending.
During his career as district attorney, Judge Gardner prosecuted the Stoll kidnaping case at Louisville and defended the government in several anti-New Deal suits.
Among these were suits against the Agricultural Adjustment Act's processing taxes and a coal operators' suit against the Guffey Coal Conservation Act.
Judge Gardner was a Presbyterian and member of the Knights of Pyihires, the Odd Fellows, the Elks, and Woodmen of the World. He formerly was a regent of Murray State College.
The Mayfield Messenger
Friday, October 28, 1960, p. 1
Bunk Gardner Sr.
MAYFIELD, Ky. Services for Bunk Gardner Sr., 83, retired federal judge involved in a long court battle to invalidate the will of his millionaire brother, Ed, will be at 11 a.m. today at Burns Funeral Home.
The Rev. J. C. Gilbert, pastor of the First Methodist Church, will officate and burial will be in Highland Park Cemetery.
Gardner died Wednesday night in a Mayfield hospital of complications following a broken hip in 1959.
Gardner and his son, Bunk Gardner Jr., central figures in one of Kentucky's most celebrated court battles, sought to become heirs to a $6-12 million estate left by Gardner's brother to the Annie Gardner Foundation, named for Ed Gardner's deceased wife.
Circuit Judge Elvis J. Stahr ruled for Gardner and his son but the decision was appealed to the Court of Appeals by the First National Bank of Mayfield on behalf or the Annie Gardner Foundation. The final decision is still pending.
In 1933, Gardner, a lifelong supporter of the Democratic party, went to Washington after President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him counsel for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.
He kept this post until 1935. Then Roosevelt named him U.S. district attorney for Western Kentucky. After three years, he was appointed by Roosevelt to serve as federal judge in the Canal Zone.
Gardner held this position 10 years. Then in 1948 he retired and returned to Mayfield.
During his career as district attorney, he prosecuted the Stoll kidnaping case at Louisville and defended the government in several anti-New Deal suits.
Survivors are his wife, Mrs. Winner Gardner, and his son, both of Mayfield.
Saturday, October 29, 1960, p. 3
Kentucky Death Certificate Data: #60-21730
Name: Bunk Gardner
Death Age: 84
Birth Date: Wednesday, November 24, 1875
Birth Place: Mayfield, Kentucky, USA
Death Date: Thursday, October 27, 1960
Death Place: Mayfield, Graves County, Kentucky, USA
Cod: Pulmonary Edema
Father: Bunk Gardner
Mother: Mollie Luck
Informant: Mrs Winnie Gardner
Winifred Winn Gardner
1888–1966 (m. 1915)
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