Lee Gardner

Milton Gardner, came to Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, with his parents in 1901 as an infant. He spent a happy childhood in Kuliang and returned to California, the United States, with his parents in 1911. Throughout the following decades, Gardner's greatest wish was to revisit his childhood home in China. Unfortunately, he never fulfilled this wish. On his deathbed, he continually uttered "Kuliang, Kuliang".

His wife made multiple trips to China but was unable to find the second home in her husband's memories. One day, she discovered 11 stamps with the words "Fuzhou Kuliang" among her husband's belongings. With the help of Liu Zhonghan, a Chinese student studying in the US, she finally learned that "Kuliang" was indeed "Guling" (Mandarin) in Fuzhou, China.

On April 8, 1992, People's Daily published an article titled Ah, Kuliang! by Liu Zhonghan, telling this touching story. Subsequently, his wife was invited to visit Fuzhou.

In August of that year, she arrived in Fuzhou and was awarded the title of "Honorary Citizen of Fuzhou". 

During her stay, she visited the Kuliang that her husband had longed to see, witnessing the same misty clouds and verdant mountains he had roamed as a child. She also met nine of Gardner's childhood friends, finally fulfilling her husband's lifelong wish.

The only remaining descendants of the Gardner family are his grandnephews, Gary Gardner and Lee Gardner.

Lee, born in 1951, currently resides in Southern California and is a retired law firm administrator. In his retirement, Lee volunteers as a bookkeeper for two local charities: one supporting the elderly and the other providing computer training for young people with developmental disabilities.

Lee's great-grandparents settled in Fuzhou as Christian missionaries in 1889, and both his grandfather and father were born in Fuzhou. He visited Fuzhou with his brother Gary Gardner in 2012 and 2018 and attended the opening ceremony of the Gardner Memorial Hall in Kuliang.

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