Today we said goodbye to an icon in the embroidery industry. Marvin Gardner passed away on Monday April 11 at his home in Dallas, TX.
His name may not be familiar to you but his presence and influence in the commercial embroidery industry is legend. For several decades, he steered Dallas Cap and Emblem and was honored by President Nixon in 1969 for working with NASA on developing the official Apollo 11 Emblem worn by the astronauts. When Neil Armstrong and Edmund “Buzz” Aldrin stepped on the moon, they were wearing the Apollo 11 embroidered emblems on their flight suits under their space suits.
President Nixon sent Marvin a letter commending him for his participation in this historic event.
Marvin was Big Poppa to all of us at Designs. He came to work every day for the 16 years since DIME’s inception. You see, he’s family here, the father of my business partner, Gary Gardner. An avid sports fan, Marvin led the office football pool every week and took great joy in winning a dollar from his best office friends, Charles Henry and Bryant Royal. Those three have worked together for 39 productive years. Marvin was also our walking encyclopedia of embroidery facts, myths, equipment, people and more. If we had a question about embroidery, we asked Marvin. If he didn’t know, then we probably had an opportunity to invent something new and exciting!
Marvin was not just a businessman; first, he was a family man. A husband to Shirley (Pasternak) Gardner for 62 years and father to five children: Paul, Robert, Janelle (Friedman), Gary and Vickie (Sokolik). He had 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Marvin was bigger than life – a true Texan. When I look at Big Tex at Dallas Fair Park (home of the Cotton Bowl), I always think of Marvin. Standing tall, an imposing presence with a smile that lit up the city.
I remember the first time my Stitching Sister, Marie Zinno, worked with Marvin at a show in Michigan. They dined together and Marvin ordered and finished the largest steak she had ever seen. That was Marvin, larger than life with a heart of gold.