Claudia G. Wallace-Gardner, age 68, prayerfully and peacefully transitioned to eternal life November 6, 2017, in Houston, Texas after a long illness. She was the heartbeat of her family. Known as a spirit-filled, warm, compassionate, fun-loving mother, grandmother, sister, and friend who loved God and family, Claudia enjoyed music, entertaining, reading, and taking care of everyone around her.
Despite years of pain and discomfort, she remained bolstered by her faith and love of God. Her ability to find humor, patience and beauty in the direst situations endeared her to everyone she encountered.
She will be remembered as dignified, stylish, honest, a true friend and great organizer who gave unconditional love, made legendary mac & cheese, and left an event planning legacy.
Claudia graduated from Patrick J. Henry High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in communications, with emphasis on nonprofit management systems, from the University of Minnesota.
Claudia’s professional career included directorships at the former Twin Cities Opportunity Industrialization Center (TCOIC), Penumbra Theatre Company and the University of Minnesota (U of M). While at the U of M, Claudia directed three University of Minnesota Presidential Inaugurations — C. Peter Magrath, Kenneth H. Keller, and Nils Hasselmo; and ceremonial events for President of the Republic of Finland; Vice President Walter F. Mondale; Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Supreme Court; NAACP President Roy Wilkins; Japanese Minister of Affairs; Chancellor of Austria and others.
Her volunteer service included the Twin Cities YWCA, Givens Collection for African American Literature, The Loft, University of Minnesota Black Alumni Society, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Greater Minneapolis Girl Scout Council and the University of Minnesota Association of Black Employees.
Claudia was preceded in death by her husband of 27 years, LeRoy Gardner, Jr.; parents Albert H. and Lucille M. Wallace; and sisters Karen Bivens and Joyce LeSwain Micks (Don). She is survived by her daughters Tiffanee Jules (Michael) and Lena Gardner; sons Frank Sentwali Gardner (Becca), and LeRoy Gardner, III (Suzanna); sister Valerie Shipbaugh (David); brother Albert H. Wallace, Jr., (Debbie); sister-in-law Sharon Gardner (Joe); brother-in-law Gordon Gardner; grandchildren Jules Jr., Lance, Jada, Cihuacoatlzin, Amari, Judah, Kiya, Nicco and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends.
The celebration of Claudia’s life will be held Saturday, January 13, 2018, 11:30 am — 3:30 pm, in Coffman Memorial Union Theater, University of Minnesota — Twin Cities Campus, 300 Washington Avenue, MN 55455. Contact number: 952-220-2052.