Gardner Lerner (aka “G” and “Poppy”), born in the town of Ipswich on the North Shore of Massachusetts on December 29, 1928, passed away peacefully with his family at his side early morning Tuesday, January 22 at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home. His love for the North Shore was second only to his love of his family, especially his wife of 69 years, Harriet, whom he adored more than words can describe.
Gardner came to Albany with his parents at the age of two. As a young boy and only child, he proudly worked in his Dad’s delicatessen. Later, he sold RCA electronics at RTA (original home of “Nipper") and at Fort Orange Radio for his favorite mentor, “Uncle Dave Marx.” In 1964, Gardner had the opportunity to get back into the delicatessen business and purchased Kaye’s on New Scotland Ave. It was the beginning of a new family venture that became "the place to be for many.” 277 New Scotland was the hangout venue for local politicians during election times. Eventually, “Lerner’s Delicatessen, “with its flagship location in Stuyvesant Plaza, grew into four locations and a catering business, until 1984.
Gardner was a member of the Knights of Pythias Brotherhood and was honored to receive the “Pythian of the Year “award. He was a dedicated member of Temple Israel and a past president of the Independent Benevolent Society in Albany. He was committed to attending daily minyan for many years, saying Kaddish for his mother and father, and his aunts and uncles who had passed away on the North Shore. He attended Shabbat services every week to participate in the prayers for healing for friends and family members who were ill.
After retiring from his restaurant and catering business, Gardner became active in local politics in Albany. He took great pride in his positions (employment/accomplishments) with Albany County, the City Corporation Counsel, the State Appellate Court, in his role as (Democratic) Committee Man, and his appointment to the Albany Water Finance Authority, where he also served as Chairman. He was the “Go to for Help” guy for many friends and neighbors in his community and beyond. In addition to all of these, for many years Gardner dedicatedly served (provided his services at) Levine Memorial Chapel until recently.
Gardner was predeceased by his parents, Max and Stella Ginsburg Lerner. He is lovingly survived by his wife, Harriet Greenstein Lerner, his children, Steven (Nancy) Lerner, Jill (Bryan) Gautie and Cheryl Levine (Jay Sampson). He was the most special Poppy to Jennifer and Jay Siegal, Josh Levine and Allie Eberline, Jodi and Jon Ungar, Matthew Lerner and Robert Scull, and Great-Poppy to Camryn Brooke Siegal.
Services will be held at Temple Israel, 600 New Scotland Ave, on Friday, January 25 at 11:00am. Interment will follow services at the Independent Benevolent Cemetery on Fuller Road in Albany
The period of mourning (Shiva) will be observed at the home of Steven and Nancy, 198 Marion Avenue, Albany on Saturday and Sunday evenings, January 26 and 27 from 7-9pm
Contributions may be made in Gardner’s memory to the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home 180 Washington Avenue Extension, Albany, NY 12203 and/or the American Cancer Society, 1 Penny Lane, Latham, NY 12110 Please, no flowers.
Gardner’s family wishes to extend special thanks to Dr. Lawrence Garbo and the staff at NYOH as well as the staff at the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home for their kindness and care they provided to both he and his family.