Sue Gardner Retires

Jan 2, 2020 | News

Sue Gardner retired from the practice of law as of December 31, 2019.  She finishes her extraordinary career at the age of 88.  She is healthy and enjoying herself in Florida as this notice is being posted.

Sue did not begin her career when she graduated from Smith College in 1952.  Like other women, she was discouraged from pursuing a law degree by the then dean of the Harvard Law School where she considered applying while her husband, Arnold Gardner, was there.  It was a different era.

She began at the University of Buffalo Law School in 1972, when her son started high school.  They both graduated (Sue from law school, her son from high school) in 1977.  Sue joined her husband at Kavinoky Cook that year, specializing in Estate Planning.

In addition to being a member of various New York and Erie County Bar Associations, and holding significant positions in both, she was appointed to the New York State IOLA Fund (Interest on Lawyer Account Fund) in 1991 by Chief Judge Judith Kaye and remained on that Board until 2009.  She was appointed to the Virginia Evans Devereux Charitable Foundation by Erie County Surrogate Judge Joseph Mattina in 1994 and remains on that Board currently.

Sue was a member of the Board of Managers of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society from 1988 to 2008.  From 1985 to 1989, she was a member of the Buffalo Landmark and Preservation Board.  She also held significant positions in the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross, including its Chairwoman from 1983 to 1986.

From 1983 to the present, Sue has been a member of “The Women’s Group,” which she helped to found.  This organization, with its unassuming name, is perhaps the organization for which she is best known and through which Sue may have exerted her greatest influence in advancing and promoting professional and business women in all fields throughout Western New York.  Sue is considered one of the pioneers of her generation in this regard, although we are certain she objects to our saying this.

These sorts of announcements are generally accompanied by a list of awards and honors.  This announcement will be no exception.  Sue Gardner’s more significant awards and honors include:

  • 1987 YWCA Outstanding Achievement Award for Woman in Business in Western New York
  • 1988 NCCJ Annual Citation Award (with husband, Arnold)
  • 1989 Elected Fellow – American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • 1989 State University of New York at Buffalo, Distinguished Law Alumni Award
  • 1991 YMCA Distinguished Citizen Award
  • 1992 University of Buffalo Outstanding Woman in the Professions (award for law)
  • 2000 Red Jacket Award – Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society
  • 2003 D’Youville College Community Service Award (with husband, Arnold)
  • 2004 New York State Office of Court Administration Civil Legal Services Award

We wish Sue Gardner the best possible retirement.  We will endeavor to handle matters she handled, but we know that she cannot be replaced.  We will occasionally lean on her for advice and her balanced, far-seeing judgment.  We have all benefited enormously from her having been at Kavinoky Cook.