Fred Gardner, a longtime Huntington resident, lawyer and real estate developer, died Saturday. He was 94.
Gardner was born and grew up in the Bronx, graduating from Evander Childs High School. He enlisted in the Army in August 1942 and served as a legal clerk in England, Belgium, France and Austria. After World War II, he was in one of the first groups of American soldiers to go into the Nazi-run concentration camps, an experience he rarely discussed, family members said. He was discharged in December 1945 and received a Good Conduct Medal and four Bronze Star Medals.
After leaving the Army, he went to Brooklyn Law School, graduating in 1948. He moved to Huntington about a year later with his first wife, Judith Gardner. There, he opened his first law office and eventually became a partner at the law firm Gardner and Margolin. He practiced law for about 55 years.
He also was a real estate investor and developer. He was the builder and managing partner at the medical building at 200 W. Carver St. in Huntington and built many homes and owned commercial property across Long Island.
He met his second wife, Elaine, in 1982, through a mutual attorney friend, Ben Shepps. Elaine said her husband had done some legal work for Shepps. Shepps had said he was going to take Gardner out to dinner and that his wife was bringing a friend -- then Elaine Guber. Both had spouses who had died.
"He brought us together and it went off from there," said Elaine Gardner, recalling the night she met her husband. She remembered that he was easy to talk to, handsome and she hoped to see him again.
The couple married in May 1984, living in Huntington, and about 15 years ago moved to Boca Raton, Fla. He was past president of Temple Beth El of Huntington, Pine Hollow Country Club in East Norwich and a local chapter of B'nai B'rith, and was a lifelong Mason.
Besides his wife, he is survived by a son, Stephen Gardner of Belgrade Lakes, Maine; a daughter, Wendy Bicknell of Duxbury, Mass.; a stepdaughter, Jane Lebenhart of Dix Hills; a stepson, Richard Guber of Potomac, Md.; 15 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.