|Joy & Nathaniel Gardner|
Nathaniel Gardner was my maternal grandfather, an interesting character who died long before I was born.
Nathaniel was the second of five children of Leopold Gartner (April 1860 in Austria – 13 June 1948 in Buffalo, NY) and Florence (b. October 1860 in Austria). The other children were: Florence Gartner Weisberg (May 1879 in NY – 19 February 1954 in Buffalo, NY); Arthur Moses Gartner (b. 15 June 1884 in NY); Albert Gartner (b. 11 December 1888); and Anna Gartner (b. November 1891 in NY)
In 1900 Nathaniel was living with his parents and working at Western Union as a telegraph operator. He had worked his way up to that position, beginning as an errand boy and delivering telegrams. Nathaniel would work for the Western Union for the rest of his life, until he retired about 1944.
On 9 May 1921 Nathaniel Gardner married Helen Francis Coyle (9 January 1897 – 13 October 1965). They were married by a Justice of the Peace in Manhattan. He was 39 and she was 24. Both families disowned them. At that time a Jewish man did not marry a Roman Catholic woman.
Nathaniel’s 1923/24 New York State Drivers’ License shows him to be 5 foot 5 inches tall; with black hair and black eyes. He lived at 216 Mt. Eden Avenue in New York City.
Nathaniel and Helen had one child, Alberta Joy Gardner b. 26 March 1928 in the Bronx. She was named for Nathaniel’s brother, Albert, who had died before she was born. She was usually called Joy. Nathaniel took every opportunity to spoil his daughter. They loved to go swimming together. Joy said her father could float on his back and read the newspaper, never getting the paper wet. He called Joy his ‘Pal’.
In 1940 the family moved to Germantown, NY. Nathaniel continued to work in NYC during the week, staying in an apartment there, and taking the train on weekends to his family in Germantown. He had planned to retire but Pearl Harbor was attacked and telegraphers were badly needed. He was a supervisor by then. His health was poor but he worked long hours. When he did retire because of his deteriorating health, it was a short retirement. He died on 7 December 1944, 66 years ago today. My mother always missed him. I wished I could have had him as my grandfather.