John Richard Gardner

John Richard Gardner

John Richard Gardner, 75, died Jan. 31, at his Canyon City home. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Feb. 3 at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in John Day. Interment was at St. Andrews Cemetery in Canyon City.

Mr. Gardner was born March 23, 1936, in Weiser, Idaho, to William and Jessie (Tinsley) Gardner. When he was born, his father was gold mining in the Greenhorn area. The roads were impassible for months with deep snow, so his mother had gone to stay with relatives in Weiser. After his birth, the family stayed in the Greenhorn area until 1943 when they bought a ranch in the Marysville area near Canyon City.

He and his brother Bill rode horseback into Canyon City to attend the old school on Rebel Hill. After graduation from Grant Union High School in 1953, he attended Oregon State University for three years. He returned to Canyon City to engage in chrome mining at the Haggard and New mines on Canyon Mountain for two years.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Benning, Ga. Upon discharge he returned to Canyon City, joining his father and brother Bill in the purchase of Canyon City Bottling in 1959. Upon his brother's death in 1961, John began managing the company known as Gardner Enterprises. In 1974, he moved the company to John Day where it remains today.

On Dec. 29, 1963, he married Charlene Kempfer at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in John Day. They bought a home on Lamford Lane and later bought property in the Marysville area where he lived until his death.

He was a past exalted ruler of the John Day Elks Lodge, served on the Canyon City and John Day city councils, Grant ESD board of directors, John Day Rural Fire Board, and was president of the Grant County Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the John Day Elks Lodge 1824, American Legion Post 77, Grant County Chamber of Commerce, Swire Beverage Group and St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.

He worked as a Coca-Cola distributer for 52 years. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, especially bass fishing on the John Day River. He was dedicated to his family and involved in their activities.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Charlene; son Tony (Carmen) of Canyon City; son Andrew (Amber) of Stayton; daughters Jennifer of Nampa, Idaho and Amy (Mike) Walker of Canyon City; brother-in-law John Kempfer of Highland Ranch, Colo.; sister-in-law Joy (John) Flaxel of Portland; grandchildren Garret, Carli, Meghann, McKenzie, Jacob and Justin; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his brother Bill Gardner, and stepfathers Marcus Dale and Glen McKay.

Memorial contributions may be made to Blue Mountain Hospice, Elk's Children's Eye Fund, or the St. Elizabeth Needy Fund through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd, John Day, OR 97845.

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