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John Alvin Gardner was born December 19, 1920, the second of seven children to parents, Floyd and Zula Beydler Gardner. Living in rural Cedar County, John discovered his lifelong zeal for tilling the soil while growing up with six brothers and one sister. The family worked together sustaining life during the Great Depression by what their farm could produce in livestock, row crops and just plain hard work. Of those years, John spoke, “We never had any cash money. No one we knew, did. But we could grow enough to keep food on our table and that was all we expected.” John would also, one day reflect: “I realized, early on, I was not wiser than everyone else, but I could work harder than most anyone.” His life bore witness to that belief.

After completing rural school (which he and older brother Rex traveled to by horse and wagon) the Gardners moved to Barton County. John and his siblings completed eighth grade and then pursued graduation from Lamar High School. Riding by bus route from the remote area of his farm, John noted he felt a bit intimidated by all the “town kids” he met in classes. Except for one--a raven-haired farm girl who tapped out the rhythms of her drum and bugle corps cadence on school books during morning bus rides. She caught his eye and stayed in his heart--this “Jewell” would one day become his lifelong mate.

 During WW II, John worked at the Beech Aircraft factory preparing Boeing fighter planes in Wichita, Kansas. John and Jewell spent their early years together at that location and later, Parsons, Kansas. They made lifelong friends in Parsons and John followed his Lord in Baptism at a small Christian Church.

 Following the war, the couple relocated to Lamar, Missouri and remained the next 58 years of their lives. John worked for Frank Horton and Company during the 1950’s and Finley Engineering through the 60’s and early 70’s. In this work, John was instrumental to the establishment of rural telephone systems throughout the region. As a supervisor, he became accomplished in engineering skills and enjoyed piloting a company plane.

Beginning with 1960, John started a second career in his “off" hours. His boyhood dream of owning and operating farmland was pursued nights and weekends. By 1973, a Polled Hereford cattle operation became his fulltime occupation and was later replaced by grain farming. John often said, “Every day that I go to work is like a holiday. I am doing exactly what I enjoy most.”

 Beyond the many work hours, John was active in the community through being an elder at the First Christian Church and serving on the Barton County Memorial Hospital Board, the Barton County School Board during a time of critical reorganization and Rotary Club president and longtime member. John had very few hobbies, but formed lifelong friendships playing bridge on Saturday nights with Jewell and the Town and Country Bridge Club in addition to various other Bridge clubs over the years.

John is survived by three children and spouses: Dr. John (Debbie) Gardner, Columbia, MO; Debbie (Dr. Delton) Fast, Nevada, MO; Susie Gardner Graham, Lamar, MO; three brothers, Rex Gardner, Redding, CA; Don Gardner, Sheldon, Mo; Gene (Ko) Gardner, Fairbanks, AL, and one sister, Helen (Carl) Arft, Lamar, MO. In addition, a legacy of nine grandchildren and ten great grandchildren are left behind.

 John is preceded in death by his mother and father, Floyd and Zula Gardner and brothers, Aaron Gardner and Dale Gardner. His loss is felt by a wealth of extended family.

Visitation will be 6 to 7 pm Thursday May 17, 2012 at Daniel Funeral Home.

Funeral Service will be 11:00 am Friday May 18, 2012 at First Christian Church of Lamar with burial to follow in Lake Cemetery.

Contributions are suggested to First Christian Church of Lamar in care of Daniel Funeral Home.


#7 Papillion, NESusan Lisle Hobbs 2012-06-04 19:06
I am so sorry to hear of the loss to your family. He was such an amazing and accomplished man and I am sure will be missed.
#6 Erin & Julie Miller 2012-05-20 05:07
Suzy, So sorry we couldn't make it to visitation or funeral. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Your daddy was a kind, generous man. He will be missed. Thinking of you during this difficult time.
#5 Lamar, MissouriTerri Jan \Fowler\ Limberg 2012-05-20 04:46
Dear Susie & all Family Members,
I am so deeply sorry to hear of your family's great loss of your DAD...My heart truly goes out to your hearts.
As you know, this earth was only His Temoporary Home...
Love to ALL, and May GOD Continue Blessing each and every one of your lives to the absolute fullest...
#4 Joplin, MOKerry Divine 2012-05-17 11:00
Dear Cousins,
Our hearts are with you. We know exactly how you feel. Please hold dear to your precious memories. We will see you soon,
Kerry and Family
#3 Mission, KSMichelle Patton Magee 2012-05-16 20:26
So sorry to hear of your loss. He led a full life and was able to do what he wanted and felt rewarded. Your family is in my prayers.
#2 mike gardner 2012-05-15 08:22
Rest in peace uncle John... mg
#1 Kathy Jaecques 2012-05-15 04:52
Thinking of your family at this time of sorrow. You are in my prayers.

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