Christmas songwriter dies

Saturday 18 September 2004

Songwriter Donald Yetter Gardner, who wrote the international children's favorite All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth, died Wednesday. He was 91. Gardner died of complications from an operation after falling at his Needham home, said his son, Richard Yoder Gardner.
Gardner wrote the song in 1947 while teaching music at the Smithtown, N.Y. public schools. He was filling in for his wife, teaching a class of grade-schoolers, during the holiday season. He asked the class what they wanted for Christmas, and when they hissed and lisped their answers, he noticed that almost all of them had at least one front tooth missing, his son said.
The song has been recorded dozens of times by artists that cut across musical genres, including Spike Jones, George Strait and Mariah Carey. Gardner's favorite version was recorded by Nat King Cole, said another son, Jerry Yoder Gardner.
Gardner embraced the fame that the song brought him, but his talents went beyond one tune. He played many instruments, wrote church music, directed church choirs, and produced several community choruses and community musical events. He was a member of the Kiwanis and Exchange clubs and was elected into the American Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers.

(USA Today)

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