Jerusalem bomb victim was British bible translator studying Hebrew
Mary Gardner who has taught in a Togo village for 20 years was on a six-month course before returning to Africa
Obituary taken from the Guardian.
Mary Gardner, the British woman killed in the Jerusalem bus bombing, was an evangelical Christian who had been living in Togo, west Africa, translating the New Testament into the local Ifé language.
She was on a six-month course in Jerusalem studying ancient and modern Hebrew at the Hebrew University prior to returning to Togo to begin work on a translation of the Old Testament.
The 55-year-old had been staying in a dormitory in Yad Hasmona village, about six miles from Jerusalem, but had gone into the city on Wednesday to meet her oldest friend. She was fatally injured. Thirty others were wounded when a device weighing up to 2kg exploded near the busy central bus station.
The eldest of five children, Gardner was born in Nairobi, Kenya, but moved to Aberdeenshire when she was 15. Her parents Jean, 81 and Tony, 82, who live there, said they were "devastated by the sudden loss of our daughter in this tragic and unexpected way".
In a statement they said: "Mary was a very special person and we thought the world of her. She was devoted to her work and was well liked wherever she went. We are proud of her and all that she has achieved in her life and feel truly blessed to have had her in our lives."
She had been working for Wycliffe Bible Translators in Togo, living among the Ifé people for the past 20 years, learning the language, translating the bible, and teaching literacy and maths.
Eddie Arthur, executive director of Wycliffe, said: "I cannot tell you how highly regarded she was. She was an extremely gutsy person, highly intelligent, with huge drive and the ability to stick with the project for 20 years in far from comfortable conditions. It must have been incredibly isolating at times. But she was completely dedicated to her work, and to the Ifé people."
"She will be sorely missed by her colleagues and all those she worked with in Togo". Gardner, who was not married, attended Albyn school for girls, in Aberdeen, then St Andrews University, where she studied for an MA in English and French before returning to Kenya as a volunteer teacher for two years. Returning to Britain she worked as an itinerant teacher of French, based in Orkney, travelling to island schools by plane and boat. She then studied at the Bible Training Institute, in Glasgow. She joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1988 and moved to Togo where she worked as part of a team. The Ifé translation of the New Testament was published in 2009 and she also joint-edited an Ifé-French dictionary.
Gardner arrived in Jerusalem in January for the Home for Bible Translators course, and was staying at their dormitory near the Arab town of Abu Ghosh where on Thursday, her friends and fellow translators met to exchange memories.
"Mary was really enjoying the camaraderie and fellowship she had found in Jerusalem. She told us that until she got here she did not realise how alone and isolated she had been living for years in a remote village in Togo, the only European for miles around," said Halvor Ronning, director of the Home for Bible Translators.
"She had a fantastic love for nature. We are just looking at photographs of her on her knees trying to get the best photograph of a wild flower that interested her. She loved hiking, and her room-mate has just been recounting how, when they hiked in the Judean hills, she was always pushing to continue to the next hill even if there was no obvious path."
Ronning added: "She was very frugal and she is the only person I know who bought the material to make her own tent. She used to take turns cooking with her room-mate and disapproved of extravagant desserts. She had just made nettle soup for all residents of the dormitory."
Rest in peace, in the presence of our glorious Saviour. Mary's life and labours will not be in vain in the Lord.