ATLANTA - Mayor Kasim Reed and other official members of the city are mourning the loss of Joan Garner.
Gardner passed away on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 after battling Breast Cancer, according to a report. She was a native of Washington, D.C., but called Atlanta home since 1978. Gardner lived in historic Old Fourth ward, the same district she represented.
Garner was the first openly gay Fulton County Commissioner and former Lambda Legal board member, according to a press release issued by LambdaLegal.org.
Mayor Kasim Reed issued the following statement;
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend and colleague, Fulton County Commissioner Joan Garner. Joan was respected by all who had the privilege to work with her. She was a true community leader, fighting for the rights of LGBT women and men, including pushing for domestic partner benefits for City of Atlanta employees. The people of Fulton County have lost a treasured voice, but her impact and legacy will not be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with Commissioner Garner’s wife, Judge Jane Morrison, and all her loved ones."
Fulton County Chairman John H. eaves had this to say in an statement he provided.
"On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, we are heartbroken by the loss of our colleague and friend, Vice Chair Joan P. Garner, who passed away this morning after a lengthy fight with triple-negative breast cancer. We will miss her thoughtful service, her passion for equity, and, especially, her smile and her warmth. Our thoughts and prayers are with her spouse and our friend, Judge Jane Morrison, as well as the rest of her family.
Commissioner Garner joined the Board of Commissioner in 2011, representing a dynamic and vibrant district in Atlanta. She put her heart and soul into her service to citizens, with a particular focus on health. She worked tirelessly to fight against health disparities and became our Executive Sponsor of the “All People Are Healthy” priority area. She also joined me in co-founding the Fulton County Task Force on HIV/AIDS and championed numerous other health initiatives. She also sponsored numerous programs for young people. Even in within the last month she greeted students at the annual “Don’t Touch The Fire” conference for at-risk youth.
Commissioner Garner was also committed to service on a statewide and national scale. She was currently serving as Third Vice President of ACCG – Georgia’s County Association. She was also very actively engaged with the National Association of Counties, serving as past Chair of the National Association of Counties’ Healthy Counties Initiative Advisory Board, Chair of NACo’s Medicaid and Indigent Care Subcommittee, and as Chair of the Health Policy Committee.
In the midst of our sorrow, I am so glad we took the opportunity to honor Joan and her work on behalf of citizens of Fulton County at our meeting last week. As a group, we were able to let her know how much we cared for her as an individual, and how much we admired her exemplary service to citizens. Her courage and unwavering commitment to service during her long health battle has been an example to all of us.
A memorial fund has been established and additional details are forthcoming."