The Garden Island
Notice #: 0001393771-02
Funeral Notices


Age 70. Of Honolulu, Hawaii. Lieutenant General Emerson N. “Emo” Gardner, USMC, (Ret), beloved husband, father, and grandfather died on October 11, 2022.

He is survived by his wife, Vivian Gardner; his four sons, Philip, Christian, Nick and Marc; two grandchildren Deja and Tegan; sister Linda and brother Rick Gardner.

Lieutenant General Gardner was born on October 16, 1951, the son of the late Emerson and Anna in the town of Chestertown, Maryland. He graduated from Annapolis High School and then went on to Duke University to major in history. Following graduation from Duke University in 1973, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps. Over the next 37 years, Lieutenant General Gardner led at every level of command in the Marine Corps, flew every helicopter to include the President’s Marine One aircraft and served in every combat zone. During Desert Storm, he served as the Commander of a helicopter squadron leading daring combat missions. Later he served as the Commander of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Special Operations Capable, for two deployments leading security operations in the former Yugoslavia and evacuation missions in multiple African countries. As a flag officer, he served in a broad range of positions to include: Assistant Deputy Commandant for Marine Aviation managing US Central Command’s joint operations center during operations in Afghanistan after 9/11; Director for Operations at US Pacific Command, which is responsible for US military activities in 42 countries; Deputy Commandant for Program and Resources driving the fielding of the revolutionary MV-22 Osprey aircraft and the rapid fielding of Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan; and as the Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation for the Department of Defense executing oversight of all defense programs. While serving in the Marines, Lieutenant General Gardner graduated from the Norwegian Defense College and studied at the University of Gottingen in Germany, as an Olmsted Scholar.

Two of Lieutenant General Gardner sons also served in combat as Marines. Sergeant Christian Gardner served in the Marine Corps as a sniper in Afghanistan. Corporal Nick Gardner served as a helicopter crew chief in Iraq. His oldest son Philip also followed in his footsteps graduating from Emo’s alma mater, Duke University.

Following retirement from the Marine Corps, Lieutenant General Gardner started his own strategic advisory firm providing U.S. companies with differentiated geo-strategic insights. He served as a Strategic Advisor to Franklin Templeton, the Chertoff Group and to Hedgeye Risk Management. He was on the Board of Directors for the Japan-America Society of Hawaii, the United States Army Science Board and was the Director of the Olmsted Foundation.

For all who knew Emerson Gardner, he will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and sibling who took great delight in time with family and dear friends. He loved Hawaii, golf and a good policy debate. He demanded the highest standards of excellence for himself and others, had a fierce passion and love of family, Marine Corps and country. He will be sorely missed and thought of warmly because of the enthusiasm and gusto with which he met life, his sense of humor and kind heart.

A memorial service to honor the life of Lieutenant General Emerson Gardner is scheduled for
Friday, November 18, at 2 p.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that desired donations be
made in honor of Lieutenant General Emerson Gardner to the
Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation:
or to the Japan-America Society of Hawaii: