Mildred Gardner, 97: adventurous skier, passionate volunteer

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DENNYSVILLE — Mildred “Millie” I. (Nisula) Gardner, 97, died Nov. 11 at Machias Hospital. She was born July 13, 1915, in Gardner, Mass., the daughter of the late John and Aina (Nordman) Nisula.

In her younger years, she was a founding member of the Worcester Ski Club. She was an extreme skier before the term was invented, climbing mountains in order to ski back down. For many years she ran her own business as a hairdresser at the The Butterfly Beauty Shop in Gardner, Mass., as was active in the Down Theater Guild. 

Later, Gardner moved to Scarborough with her husband, Robert, and their four children. There, the couple became active in the West Scarborough Methodist Church. The family then moved to Cousins Island in Yarmouth, where she volunteered with youth in the Gate Coffee House during the late ’60s and early ’70s. 

She and Robert retired to the Cutler family homestead in 1979. Gardner enjoyed her last years in Dennysville, surrounded by the beauty of the trees and the river, and was much loved wherever she went. 

She is survived by her children, Robert T. Gardner Jr. and wife, Deborah, of North Yarmouth, John L. Gardner and wife, Grace, of Plainfield, Mass., Charles D. Gardner and wife, Ellen, of Yarmouth, and Mary Beth Blanchard and husband, Bret, of Dennysville; 12 grandchildren, Robert III, Christine, Beth Marie, Jason, Kimberly, Jonnie, Jaquille, Dante, Elissa, Rebekah, Charles and Lucas; seven great-grandchildren, Emma, Eliana, Nathaniel, Zachary, Cleome, Zavel and Kiara; two sisters-in-law, Lucia Gardner Chipman and Elizabeth Gardner, both of Yarmouth; a brother, David Nisula of Yardley, Penn.; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Robert T. Gardner, who died in 1993; and brothers Chester Arnold Nisula and George Harold Nisula.

Funeral services were held Nov. 17 at the Dennysville Congregational Church with Pastor Don Ross officiating. Interment followed in the New Cutler Cemetery.

Arrangements are in care of McClure Family Funeral Services, of Machias and Lubec. Online condolences and memories may be shared with the Gardner family by visiting their book of memories at

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Mildred Gardner