In Memoriam to Professor Martin (marty) Gardner

Publication year2021
CitationVol. 99

99 Nebraska L. Rev. 13. In Memoriam to Professor Martin (Marty) Gardner


In Memoriam to Professor Martin (Marty) Gardner


Anna W. Shavers [*]


I knew that Professor Martin (Marty) Gardner was unexpectedly going to have heart surgery during Thanksgiving week in 2019 and that he had made plans for completing his classes once he knew his recuperation was going to be longer than originally expected. I knew this because I was then serving as Acting Dean. Honoring his wishes for privacy, I had not shared this widely with my colleagues. I was waiting to hear the results of his surgery when I received the shocking news that Marty had passed away. Although still in shock, the difficult task fell upon me to notify our colleagues and students. We had lost a teacher, mentor, and friend.

We were all saddened and surprised. When someone leaves us suddenly and unexpected, I think it is natural for us to first reflect on what their absence from our lives will mean. I first met Marty when I joined the Law College faculty in 1989. He has been a great colleague of mine for 30 years. I began to develop a deeper friendship with him after I moved into the office next to him four years ago. He was a great person who had interests beyond the law. I knew Marty as a sports enthusiast, music lover, and musician. And of course, I knew that he loved his family. While he knew a lot about sports, I was most impressed by how much knowledge he had about recruits to the Huskers football team and his ever optimistic view of the team's performance. After being in the office next to him and having more personal conversations with him, I also learned how much he could empathize with others, especially me. Our conversations were sometimes monopolized by the humor of the fact that we were both getting older and could share stories and comparisons of our aches and pains.

What I observed most about Marty was his sense of fairness. This was exhibited on a daily basis in my interactions with him as a colleague but equally in his roles as a scholar and a teacher, and through his commitment to justice. His performance as a scholar and teacher was recognized in part when he received the Steinhart Foundation Professor of Law endowed chair.

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His scholarship was primarily in his...

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