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Donna Lillian Thomas Gardner

Donna Gardner

Donna Lillian Thomas Gardner, 83, of Erwin, went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Thursday, May 26, 2016 at the Johnson City Medical Center. God put on her angel wings and said “no more pain or suffering, it is time to come home.” Donna was born to the late Claude and Ruby Thomas of Micaville, NC. She was a member of Ninth Street Baptist Church. She retired from the Unicoi County School system after many years of service in the cafeteria at Evans Elementary School and later in the office of Unicoi County High School. After her retirement, she worked several years at Erwin Specialty Company as a bookkeeper. She also worked at the Unicoi County Court House cleaning offices, as well as cleaning doctor’s offices and banks, and taking care of the elderly while working the summers at Jones and Church Farms. Donna was full of life, always going “wide open.” Her passion for life was her granddaughter, Sara, and her great-grandson, Peyton. She was an avid sports fan…”GO “BLUE” GO!” Donna was preceded in death by her husband Tommy Gardner and thereafter, her long-time companion Phillip Bennett; her brother Walker Thomas, and her niece Sabra McMahan.

Donna has left behind to cherish her memories: Son: David Gardner and fiancé Sandy Hodges, of Erwin; Grandson: Sean Gardner, of Erwin; Granddaughter: Sara Trussell and fiancé Chris McKee, of North Las Vegas, NV; Great Grandson: Peyton Thomas Trussell; Brother: Tommy Thomas, of Spruce Pine, NC; Sister: Sharon Deyton and husband Johnny, of Burnsville, NC; Companion of six years: Wade Couch, of Erwin; Former Daughter-in-Law: Susan White Gardner, of Elizabethton; Several special nieces and nephews, who referred to her as “Momma Donna”; Very Special Friends Angie Boone, and Diane and Bud Banks.

The family respectfully request the honor of your presence as we offer tribute and remember the life of Donna Lillian Gardner in a visitation service to be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, June 4, 2016, in the chapel at Valley Funeral Home. A visitation period to share memories and offer support to the family will begin at 1:00 PM and continue until service time. Reverend Steve Rice will officiate. A graveside service will be immediately following the service at Evergreen Cemetery.

Condolences and memories may be shared with the family and viewed at These arrangements are made especially for the family and friends of Donna Lillian Thomas Gardner through Valley Funeral Home, 1085 N. Main Ave., Erwin, 423-743-9187.