Remembering Professor Martin Gardner

Publication year2021
CitationVol. 99

99 Nebraska L. Rev. 3. Remembering Professor Martin Gardner


Remembering Professor Martin Gardner


Robert Denicola [*]


"I always wanted to be a law professor. I went to law school hoping to do that."

Marty Gardner

Professor Martin Gardner liked his job. He spent forty-eight years in legal education and his quiet joy was evident in everything he did. He grew up in Utah, the son of Ralph and Elaine Gardner. According to Marty, his first noteworthy achievement was serving as the clubhouse boy for the Salt Lake City Bees, then the minor league AAA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. He studied music and philosophy at the University of Utah, and then stayed on to earn a J.D. degree and serve as an editor of the Utah Law Review. As soon as he could, he made his way into law teaching as an Instructor at the University of Indiana. The University of Alabama hired him away as an Assistant Professor the following year, and four years later the Law College was fortunate to lure Marty to Nebraska. (Alabama knew what it had lost, and a decade later enticed Marty back for a year with a Distinguished Visiting Chair.) Ten years after his arrival at Nebraska, Marty was named the Steinhart Foundation Professor of Law and he remained a faculty member at the Law College for forty-three years.

Marty had several passions. His family and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints always took precedence, but law teaching, music, and Husker athletics followed close behind. He loved music, a passion he shared with his wife, Anne, an internationally-known flutist. Marty was an accomplished clarinet player with the Utah and Nebraska National Guard bands and several local music ensembles. It was not uncommon to hear music by Edward Elgar, Gustav Mahler, or Ralph Vaughan Williams escaping through Marty's partially-opened office door.

Marty was also a persistently hopeful Husker fan. Every season brought renewed optimism that the Husker football team would return to national prominence and the men's basketball team would win

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its first ever game in the NCAA tournament. As the season progressed Marty would stubbornly cling to that optimism, spinning increasingly elaborate scenarios that could still produce the success that more rational fans...

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