In Memory

Elizabeth Gardner (Hertel)

Elizabeth Gardner (Hertel)

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04/04/14 09:19 PM #1    

Mary Blackwell (Class Of '65, Rick Blackwell Sister)

Liz (Ann) Gardner lived next door to us, on Dempster St.  She was brilliant and a true original, a good friend of my brother's.  I am sure he can remember a lot more than I can.


04/06/14 01:00 PM #2    

Karen Kennedy (Lawrence)

What! Elizabeth is no longer with us! What a shame. Yes, she was a true original. She was way ahead of her time. One might have called her a beatnik. She wore black tights and a hairpiece of some kind that she could style. She was a poet and an intellectual. She went to Miller School, as did I. We were the only black kids in our class, out of the handful of black kids at Miller. She was from a large family that was housed in one of the few places people of limited means could afford in that part of town. I always admired Ann. (that's what she was called before she became a sophisticated high schooler and insisted on being called by her first name) She had no shame in inviting her friends over to her house, as humble as it was, especially compared to the large, stately homes in the neighbourhood. She pushed the boundaries with her choice of friends too. She had white boy friends which was unheard of back then at ETHS.  She associated with the people she had things in common with and she didn't let racial barriers get in her way. She was a dark-skinned beauty in an age when "if you are white you are right"  and "black, stay back." It's people like Elizabeth who made it difficult for people to swallow the prejudiced thinking that spawned those expressions. She was a free spirited, courageous, confident, intelligent black woman who with her life, showed the way toward racial harmony, still much needed in the USA, even today.

04/07/14 10:43 AM #3    

Ruth Gross

I was so sad to see that Liz had passed before we could see each other again at a reunion.  She was a truly remarkable individual--so clever and so smart with great wit and charm.  I knew her mostly from classes and clubs--but it was always a delight to hear her wry comments. I wish I had known her better.

04/07/14 05:44 PM #4    

Donna Dullin (Nemanic)

Our "large" high school (sub-divided by halls, lunch room tables, alphabetical seating and cliques) meant we missed connections with so many interesting people.  Luckily for me, though, I connected with Elizabeth on the A train out of Howard Street. Although we lived near each other in high school, I had no memory of her as a neighbor and only hazy recollections of her at Nichols and in high school.  As we talked, we found we had few friends in common.  Nonetheless, we shared the noisy EL ride into Chicago talking about books, poetry and art and developed a friendship that sadly went the way of so many brief encounters – we lost touch.  She was a charming individual, unafraid, sure of herself and a wonderful conversationalist. 

After reading Mary Blackwell's post, I sought out her obituary in the Northwest Indiana Times, of October 5, 2005.  I wasn’t at all surprised at her depth of character and her accomplishments.  I share the post with you here.

Elizabeth Hertel 1946-2005.  Elizabeth Hertel was born in Evanston, Illinois to Margaret and Clarence Gardner. She was a graduate of Evanston High School and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Elizabeth will be remembered for her multifaceted life and interests. An accomplished and creative artist, she also excelled in fields of theater and music. Her credits also included jewelry and clothing design. A teaching artist for the VSA (Very Special Arts) of Indiana, Elizabeth was involved in the organization of several VSA festivals at the Governor's Residence in Indianapolis. She was well known for her help, encouragement and participation in theater and arts programs throughout Northwest Indiana. She had a strong commitment to the organizations and programs helping women and children and to the humane treatment of animals this was matched by her work on behalf of shelters and charities. Her professional life was spent between the National Lakeshore and Channel 56 in Merrillville, Indiana. During her travels abroad, she had come into contact with, and found a special affection for, the culture and philosophy of the Indian sub-continent.  She was an avid student of Vedantic literature, finding solace and guidance in the ageless teachings of the Gita. She is survived by her mother, Margaret Gardner; sister, Gloria Daniels; two brothers: J. Thomas Gardner and Clarence Gardner, Jr.; many uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and many relatives and friends. A sister, Pamela Gardner, preceded her in death. She will be missed by all.


04/08/14 07:18 AM #5    

Lillian Summers

Thank you for posting this. I remember being very impressed by her.

04/08/14 07:57 AM #6    

Pauline Noznick (Gerstein)

Liz Gardner was a very cool person at ETHS.  She was friendly and smart and definetely ahead of the time.  She was a person who eximplified all the hopes and dreams of the early 1960's, when we believed that if everyone worked together, all the problems of society could be solved.

04/08/14 01:22 PM #7    

Alison Van Swearingen (Brown)

Thank you Donna for sharing your memory of such an amazing classmate.  I did not know Elizabeth and reading about her makes me wish I had known her.  She was indeed well ahead of her time.  All those wonderful things that made up the total personality of one individual who was a trail blazer in her own right is just fascinating.

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