Marilyn Joyce Hilsenhoff Gardner

May 18, 1932 – Sept. 28, 2013

Marilyn Joyce Hilsenhoff Gardner, formerly of Waukesha, passed away Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013, in Pewaukee. She was 81 years old.

Joyce was born in Monmouth, Ill., on May 18, 1932, to Leslie “Chi” and Greta McKelvie Hilsenhoff. She was the second of four daughters. Joyce was raised in Monmouth and attended the public schools there.

She attended Monmouth College for two years and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Joyce also worked as a branch librarian at the Warren County Library.

She married Willis Warren Gardner, also of Monmouth, on June 5, 1953. Joyce had met Willis in high school Latin class, where they became acquainted because the teacher had seated the students alphabetically, by last name.

Joyce was devoted to her family, moving from West Allis to Stuttgart, Germany, to New Berlin to Des Plaines, Ill., and finally to Waukesha in support of her husband’s career. She was keenly interested in her children’s education and instilled in them a life-long appreciation for history and the written word.

Joyce was an avid reader and amateur genealogist.

She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Waukesha for 44 years and taught Sunday school there and in previous church homes.

Joyce was a devoted mother and grandmother and her kind, sweet and generous spirit was known to many.

She is survived by her beloved husband, Willis; her two children, Charles, Waukesha, (Patricia Sandrock) and Sarah, Culver City, Calif. (James Bowie); a sister, Nancy Schwiebert, San Jose, Calif., and her cherished grandchildren, John, Nora, Julia and Eli.

She was preceded in death by her elder sister, Carol Basinger of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and her youngest sister Judith Neal of Sun Lakes, Ariz.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9:30 a.m. until the time of the 10:30 a.m. memorial service at the chapel of Shorehaven in Oconomowoc, 1305 W. Wisconsin Ave. Chaplain Mark Rydberg will preside.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made online to the Alzheimer’s Association at or by mail to 620 S. 76th St., Suite 160, Milwaukee, WI 53214. Donations can also be made to Waukesha Public Library, Children’s Book Room, at 321 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha, WI 53186 Randle-Dable-Brisk Funeral, Cremation and Preplanning Services is honored to serve the family. For further information, please call the funeral home at 547-4035 or visit our website at for directions or to leave the family an online tribute message.