Alvin Purcell Gardner was born to Martha Christian Gardner and Thomas Harold Gardner in Richmond, VA on February 6, 1950. Preceding him in death were his parents, and two sisters; Alease Gardner and Thomasine Braxton. Alvin transitioned to his new life on August 28, 2023, in Richmond, VA.
He was the fifth oldest of six children. He attended Van de Vyver private school in Richmond as a boy and Fair Oaks Elementary school. He was a member of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Fulton. Alvin was diagnosed with a mental illness early in life causing behavioral problems that should have prevented him from enjoying a normal social experience.
Alvin did not let his illness prevent him from engaging in his favorite activities. His love for sports and music highlighted his teenage years. He loved organizing baseball games and spent numerous hours on the phone setting up local pickup games. His leadership in this area was a shining example of his determination to stay involved in the community. When off duty from his baseball obligations, he would listen to his favorite radio station WENZ. Whatever he was involved in he would find a way to insert humor. He loved riding his bike and kept it top-notch with the help of friends and neighbors. He would ask our neighbor Nathaniel Roots to air his tires. Nathaniel told him one day, ” Alvin I just put air in your tires this morning”. Alvin replied, ” Yeah, but I want some fresh air”.
As Alvin got older his disease progressed and he was unable to enjoy life at home. The family stepped in and he lived with his uncle and aunt, Frank and Rebecca Christian, and their family. From there he lived at various Assisted Living facilities culminating at a nursing home in Richmond where the Nurses and CNA’s lovingly nicknamed him “Papa”. His big heart gained the respect and love of the staff. They knew Alvin as a person who had a passion for food but was always willing to share. Alvin’s devoted family would consistently bring his favorite food, in which he never seemed to know satiety, hot dog and Pepsi from 7-Eleven!
Cherishing his memory are his sister, Patricia Gardner Johnson (George); brothers, Andwele Gardner (Carolyn), and Charles Moss (Barbara); devoted niece, Noelle Braxton Harris (Jay); aunt, Mildred Gardner; great-aunt, Ellen Crump Johnson; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A viewing will be held from Noon – 2:30 p.m. Friday, September 1, 2023, at Affinity Funeral Service – Mechanicsville Chapel, 8074 Mechanicsville Tnpk, Mechanicsville, VA 23111. A graveside service will follow at 3 p.m. at Washington Memorial Park, 6217 Memorial Dr, Sandston, VA 23150.