John Thaddeus Garner (Zeta Chi) 1971-2020


Born on October 11, 1971 in Wiesbaden, Germany, John was a proud University of South Carolina Gamecock where he played in the marching band and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in geophysics. John previously worked as the Manager of Operations at Flint Energies. He never felt the need for praise or ownership of his accomplishments even though he was a brilliant man in so many aspects.

In the 90s, John met his wife, Tracey, on a blind date set up by their brothers. He married her on April 25, 1998, and together they lived a fulfilling life with two sons. His personality was one that allowed him to easily communicate with anyone he met. People were drawn to John as he had the instinctive ability to get others to talk with one another and knew how to bring out the “tech talent” in anyone. He could easily teach others without making them feel inferior. This was one of the greatest traits he had in his career and in life.

John was diagnosed with Gliomitosis Cerebri, an extremely rare brain tumor, which is fitting for the rare greatness and uniqueness that naturally radiated from him. He spent a lot of time at The Robert Preston Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Hospital participating in research studies for his cancer; he was number 16 on the “Resist” study for a particular form of dermal process to treat the disease. John was grateful for the opportunity to donate his body to Duke in order to help further the study and to continue helping others even after his death.

John could find humor in anything, even his diagnosis. Memories of him will bring belly laughter and tears to your eyes, as he brought so much joy and glee. He will be remembered as the coolest, neatest guy and he was the kind of person who never complained about pain. Going through this situation was not about the pain, but about taking in every moment. John’s diagnosis was one of the best things because it changed how he and his family lived their lives and encouraged them to take in every second of life. John was sure to leave a lasting impression on everyone he met, especially his two sons who also share his humor. He lived life to the fullest doing more in his 48 years than most do in 100. He was an inspiration to his wife and children encouraging them to make the most of life. Though there is grief and sadness, there is also so much happiness and pure joy from knowing John and having been a part of his life.

Those left to cherish his memory are his loving wife and best friend of 22 years, Tracey Ruth Garner; sons, Joshua and Jonathan Garner; parents, Lt. Col. John “Tim” Garner, USAF (Ret.) and Linda Breeden Garner; brother, Tedd Garner (Anne); parents-in-law, James R. and Carole Bloodworth; brother-and-sister-in-law, James “Jim” and Betsy Bloodworth; and nieces and nephews, Mason and Kate Garner, and Laura, Jay, and Ben Bloodworth.

At the family’s request, all services will be private.

John’s family would like to express their infinite gratitude to The Robert Preston Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Hospital, Pruitt Health Hospice, and John’s Flint Energies family for the amazing care and support given to John and his family over the years.

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