Washington Academy Remembers Clinton E. Gardner Sr.
Clinton "Peanut" Gardner '49 has been making a difference at Washington Academy for 75 years. As a leader, he began early in high school when he faithfully managed Raider baseball and basketball teams. His desire to lead at a young age was even apparent in the classroom when a classmate in 1949 remarked, "Peanut is the movieman of the class. Anytime the movie projector is in use, you will find Clint running it." Clinton's leadership and faithful managerial skills were demonstrated early and continued throughout his lifetime, as did his love for Washington Academy and his endearing nickname, "Peanut."
Upon graduating from Washington Academy in 1949, Peanut began working at Archibald's, a service station not far from the Academy Hill. In 1978, he became the owner/operator of the business. Peanut enjoyed greeting students and his community with his welcoming and friendly face. Today, Archie's, a popular nickname used by WA students, is still visited to pick up snacks between campus events.
In 1990, Clinton joined the Washington Academy Board of Trustees and served as treasurer. A few years ago, Peanut recounted his tenure on the Board. He stated, "In over 25 years of service and over 1,000 committee and monthly meetings. I only missed six." A numerical demonstration of his faithfulness to WA. Head of School Judson McBrine fondly remarks about working with Peanut during this time, "He was always dependable and never missed a meeting. He showed great commitment to the school's financial stability and sustainability. He was generous with his time and treasure, working tirelessly for the school on the Finance & Operations Committee and generously supporting fundraising efforts. Commitment and kindness truly marked his leadership style. We will forever be indebted to him for all he did for Washington Academy and our community."
Peanut retired from the Washington Academy Board of Trustees in 2015, leaving behind a campus expansion during his 25 years of service, including eight campus renovations and the construction of three dormitories, a new gymnasium, and a fine arts center. Honorary Board of Trustee and WA alum Dick Gardner '58 shares, "I think Peanut is probably one of the most dedicated Trustees that I have had the privilege to serve alongside. He was a great ambassador for the school, and as Board Treasurer, he watched the Academy's money as closely as he watched his own." Although Peanut retired from his seat on the Board, he continued to be a proud supporter of WA. He never missed a Raider home basketball game nor a trip to Bangor during February tournament week.
Peanut's extraordinary commitment and service to Washington Academy were recognized in 2006 when he received the Washington Academy Board of Trustees' Distinguished Service Award. His service to the greater East Machias community was recognized again in 2019 for his association with the East Machias Fire Department. The Board recognized the organization for their commitment and service by awarding them the Distinguished Service award. His passion for serving extended beyond WA and included the local community, which genuinely demonstrated his love for the town of East Machias.
In honor of Peanut's contribution to Washington Academy, the 2011 tennis courts were named the Clinton E. Gardner Tennis Complex. His mindset was always student-centered, and this campus expansion provided additional athletic opportunities for WA students and the community, an objective near and dear to his heart.
Many adjectives used to describe Clinton "Peanut" Gardner include faithful, committed, hardworking, generous, and wise. Washington Academy will fondly remember him as a Raider! Peanut peacefully passed away with his family by his side on Thursday, January 28, 2021.