Anthony “Tony” Gardner was born in St. Louis, Missouri on March 24, 1967 to Anthony Hayes and Rose Mary Gardner. He was their oldest child. Tony accepted Christ as his personal Savior and was baptized at an early age because of the influence and teaching of his grandfather, Charlie Roberson.
Tony was educated in the St. Louis School System and attended L’Ouveture Grade School, McKinnely High School, and then graduated from Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant and Hotel Management. Tony was a man with many talents and interests which were developed as a young man at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club. He played baseball, basketball, and in the band, he played the saxophone.
Tony’s first taste of restaurant management was with Maggie O’Brien’s Restaurant and Irish Pub. He started at the bottom, learning all aspects of managing a restaurant and hotel working in such positions as Director of Housekeeping to restaurant management and eventually served as the general manager with hundreds of employees and owners who enjoyed working with him. He earned top awards for sales and Best Performance in Hotel Management along the way. The entrepreneur bug caught him at an early age when he had his own paper route for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. He would take his money and spoil his mother and siblings, buying them candy and other treats. He would later open and operate his own “TKO Restaurant” which was a sports bar.
His education, knowledge, and desire to help others were the perfect qualities and skill set. He would go on to work for the Chase Park Plaza, Hilton at the Arch and the Western Inn. He so enjoyed working downtown and in the sports arena until he also lived downtown in a loft across from Ballpark Village. He held a membership in the St. Louis Minority Business Council and served as a mentor, Big Brother, and role model to many.
Tony loved music, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his family and friends. He enjoyed his trip to Paris and Bora Bora. He loved the St. Louis Cardinals and the Rams when they were still here. His love of baseball and work would earn him autographed sports memorabilia from Whitey Herzog and many of the Rams, St. Louis Blues, and St. Louis Cardinal Players. He was known to be a jokester at family events, and his signature move would be to stick his finger in your plate and say, “Let me taste it and see if it’s gonna be as good as mine when I get it.” He was a sharp dresser and was always “Board Room Ready.” Tony was a hero to his mother, who he loved and enjoyed taking care of, as well as his children and siblings, and all those he came in contact with leaving an indelible impression and endearing bond. He was loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Tony was preceded in death by his grandparents; father, Anthony Hayes; siblings, Pamela Garth-Taylor and Julian Hayes; and two children, Antwaun Dashawn Gardner and Arerevure Rose Mary Denise Gardner.
Tony’s life, memories, smile and laughter will always be remembered and cherished by: his mother, Rose Mary Gardner, whom who loved more than life; his five children whom he also loved and were his world, Ebony Nakisha, Anthony C. Jr., Avion Ashawn, Carlicia Moshay, and Alexes; four grandchildren, Rhianna, Layla, Amari, and Amaya; three siblings, Antoinette, Kimberly, and Kevin; and a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends both near and far.