Denise Josey Reynolds-Gardiner was born May 2,1961 in Los Angeles, California to Lucian and Dorothy Reynolds. She was one of seven children born to this union. She and her twin brother, Dennis, were happily welcomed into the family. She was affectionately referred to as “Niecy” by some. Denise and her siblings were raised as Christians from a young age and were introduced to Christ through Grant AME Church and St. Albert the Great Catholic School. Denise loved the LORD! Throughout her life, Denise was very devout and raised her children in the faith. Denise attended El Segundo Elementary School and Centennial High School in Compton, California. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from Albany State University in Georgia. She also attended the University of Iowa, pursuing a degree in the legal field and became a paralegal. Her post-graduate education was interrupted, however, due to problems with her health. In 1985, she fell in love with Lester Gardiner and they married shortly after in 1986. They had two children together: Cameron Llewelyn and Talayne Jasmine-Josey, her namesake. Above all, Denise loved being a mother—to her own children and also anyone else who would let her. She was never shy about telling the truth but also was the most comforting and empathetic person in times of trouble. She worked as a legal secretary, where she was an essential part of the daily dealings of the firm. On the job, Denise was revered for her wisdom, thoroughness, and candor by attorneys of great status and prestige. Denise struggled immensely with various health problems throughout her adult life, however, some causing permanent disability. She spent the last year of her life battling cancer, eventually being declared ‘cancer-free’ in November, 2019. Despite these trials, Denise pushed forward, cane in hand, and never lost sight of her trust in God. Denise passed away peacefully of natural causes in her home accompanied by her beloved cat, Phoenix, just before Christmas Day, 2019. She is now free of pain and has reunited with her loved ones who preceded her in death: Lucian and Dorothy Reynolds (parents), David Steven (younger brother) and Vanessa Jean (younger sister). Denise leaves behind many who loved her and will miss her dearly, including her siblings: Cheryl (sister) and her husband Gene, Tony (brother) and his wife Brenda, Michael (brother), and Dennis (twin brother) and his wife Clara. She also leaves behind her adoring children: Cameron (son) and his wife, Lizzie and Talayne (daughter) as well as nieces, nephews, family, and friends.

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  1. I witnessed Denise fight the good fight of faith against so many successive health challenges over decades. Through it all, her faith in God remained strong and her devotion to her children never wavered. Cameron and Talayne, you are the legacy of her outstanding character.

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