So who is this guy, anyhow?
My real name is Garry Gardner. I was born and raised in the suburbs of
Detroit, Michigan and graduated from Clawson High School in 1966. I majored
in Missions at
Nyack College in Nyack, New York, and took a one-year
post-graduate course at Jaffray School of Missions (now Alliance Theological
Seminary) where I met Ilene Hunter, who became my wife.
We pastored for seven years in Texas and Oklahoma, planning to become
overseas missionaries with the
Christian and Missionary Alliance until health
problems prevented us from moving overseas. While in Stillwater, Oklahoma
we started the Gardner Gospel Puppets as a children's ministry in our
church. That ministry has become inactive since our move to Boone, Iowa, where we
now live, but we have found new areas of ministry at Bethel
Church. Our two daughters have both graduated from Iowa State University,
and our older daughter's family lives in Boise, Idaho. Our first granddaughter was
born there in November, 1998, and her brother joined her in December, 2000. Our younger
daughter's family lives near Lansing, Michigan, and also has two children, born in 2007 and 2012.
I am semi-retired, working part time as a software engineer. Ilene is retired and involved in a variety of volunteer activities.
Professor Wonder - age 5
I became interested in magic as a child and got started with a "Sneaky
Pete" magic set by Remco. My early inspiration came from my cousin George,
who died in a tragic accident at age 16, Milky the Clown(Clair Cummings) and
Mark Wilson's "Magical Land of Alakazam." In high school and college I
collected an array of books and simple tricks but seldom did any performing.
After we started the puppet ministry I began interspersing magic effects
with our puppet skits. This led to doing magical children's messages and
occasional full-fledged gospel magic shows, first at my own church, and then for
other churches and community events.
In 1991 I joined ring 167 of the
International Brotherhood of Magicians
in Des Moines, Iowa, where the encouragement and friendship of other magic
hobbyists and professionals has been a real benefit.
So why "Professor Wonder"?
I took the name in March of 1996 and the character is still under
development. I'd been toying with the "Professor" angle for some time
in connection with a stage name for my magic work ("They call me
Professor because I profess to be a magician...."). The "Wonder" idea
is meant to encompass several aspects of my work, including humor ("I
wonder how I did that!?"), anticipation (What will this balloon be?),
and the truly Awesome message of the
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