MCS was informed by OW Robin Field-Smith that John died on 28 April 2013. Robin provided the following obituary:
Music was at the heart of the life of John Gardiner, from his days at school and university, through teaching, playing the organ, conducting choirs, organising festivals, and examining pupils at home and overseas. Many hundreds owe their own love of music and their professional careers to John’s inspiration and guidance.
John was born in Oxford on 6 December 1928 to Percy; who had established Gardiner’s Opticians in Headington in 1923, and Elizabeth, herself born on St Cecilia’s Day, perhaps passing on the musical tradition. John entered MCS in 1939. By the time he left in 1947 he had become school organist, and had developed an affection for squash and tennis, the latter game of which he continued playing until 2011! He was excused National Service in the Armed Forces because of eyesight, so did two years working in local schools instead, confirming his aptitude for teaching. In 1949 he went to St Peter’s College, Oxford, as organ exhibitioner and graduated with a BMus in 1953, also having become an Associate and later Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He went immediately to Bloxham College as Director of Music where he spent nine very happy years.
In 1962 he moved from Oxford to settle in Sussex, successively as Director of Music at Hurstpierpoint College (1962-64); Director of Music at Belmont School (1965-69) and Director of Music at Brighton Grammar School (latterly Sixth Form College, 1969-85). He also became an examiner for the Associated Board from the early 1970s.
He was always busy with musical associations and choirs, such as the Hurstpierpoint Singers and Brighton and District Organists’ Association, as well as being the impetus for many years for the Mid Sussex and Lewes Arts Festivals. His other interests included bridge, crosswords, steam railways, and writing letters to national and local newspapers. He also enjoyed travel, often accompanying his mother abroad to visit his sister, Marion, or to pursue his appreciation for good food and wine, as a gourmand rather than a gourmet!
His weekly regime saw him playing organ and piano at churches such as Hove Parish Church, and Shermanbury and Woodmancote for the latter part of his life, but he was also in regular demand around Sussex. He played continually until his last appearance on Good Friday 2013, before finally succumbing to the illness which took him from us ten days later.
Charitable bequests from his estate have been made in his memory to a number of organisations which featured in his life, including importantly for him Magdalen College School.