The time Jack Carlton Gardner spent on this earth from 1927 to 2020 was a huge blessing and inspiration to all who knew and loved him. Jack passed away peacefully in his long time Gig Harbor home with loved ones by his side on April 7, 2020.
Jack was born September 3rd, 1927 to William and Mary Gardner in their quaint home in Hoquiam Washington. He was the oldest brother to Bill and Don whom he loved dearly.
When he was young his family moved to Pasco where he grew up and graduated from Pasco High School. After high school, Jack went into the navy during WWII, but was discharged from his duties because the war ended. Jack was a curious life-long learner who loved math and problem solving. In pursuit of becoming a math teacher, he went to Washington Agricultural College (WSU), University of Puget Sound (UPS), then finally down to Cal Tech with his childhood best friend, Clayton. They had many fun times and adventures in California, but unfortunately, a bad car accident put Jack in the hospital for a few months. Instead of heading back to college he returned home to Washington and never finished up his education at Cal Tech.
By this time, several family members had moved to a farm in Gig Harbor, WA. At the encouragement of his brother, Bill, Jack was hired on at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as a sheet metal mechanic. It was during this time he met his love and sweetheart, Bonnie Alice Biers. Bonnie was a mother and waitress at Ted’s Diner (a small luncheon right outside the shipyard where Jack and brother Bill often ate). When Jack sat down at the counter, Bonnie would trade spots with co-workers to make sure she was the one waiting on Jack. Before long, Jack and Bonnie were a couple and soon after wed in 1952. Bonnie had two littles, Carla and Vickie, whom Jack loved dearly and always thought of as his own. With his new family in tow, they purchased a home in Tacoma, WA. (aka. “The House on Proctor”). The family flourished and a new little was born in 1955, Jackie.
In 1962, Jack & Bonnie built their new home in Rosedale, WA. where the “Gardner Clan” had essentially set up their own family “compound”. Jack’s parents, great aunt, dear friends, and brothers along with their families, all lived on the same hill. The Rosedale house was a hub for all, filled with joy and fun times with family and friends. Jack and Bonnie loved to have people over for visits, card games, work parties, birthday parties, cider making, campfires, etc… There were also many parties and salmon bbqs with their dear friends, the Harvey’s, and the beloved Gardner brothers. Soaking up time with those they loved was valuable and cherished time to them. They instilled this sense of community in their girls, who thrived by being in fellowship with others.
He loved adventure and teaching his kids and grandkids life lessons that were important to him… There were many adventures on long road trips, camping at the ocean, fishing trips, etc… Visiting notable landmarks in obscure travel destinations was his specialty. He was always curious to learn something new and made sure to bring those he loved along as he discovered these treasures. He instilled confidence in his kids and grandkids with a guiding heart, perseverance, and letting them try new things without the fear of failure. He reassured those he loved of their strengths and encouraged them to never give up on their passions. “Honey, I’m so proud of you,” was a common thing to hear from him.
Jack embraced his passions and never took his health for granted. He was grateful for his strength, endurance and ALWAYS set the bar for the importance of being active. One of his many passions was golf. He loved golfing!!! He could be found at the GH Golf Course at least two to three days a week since 1977. It was a time that filled him up and rejuvenated his soul. It was also a special time that he got to spend with his brothers, family, and friends.
After 53 years together, Bonnie passed away in December 2005… This deep loss left Jack feeling terribly sad and lonely. However, almost two years later while watching the grandstand show at the Puyallup Fair, smiles, love, and laughter found their way back into Jack’s life when he met Charlene Sandidge. “The view is better up here” Jack smiled and said to Charlene and her sisters, so they joined him. Charlene (aka. Great Grandma Charlene) became a cherished member of our family. Together they enjoyed many golfing, fishing, camping, clamming, yard selling and auction adventures. They also spent many days together working in the yard, planting gardens, tending flowers, and in the fall canning and preserving their harvests… although I suspect canning and preserving was more of a spectator’s sport for Jack. Charlene loved Jack and took amazing care of him throughout the years, especially in his final year. Her true selflessness and quiet kindness during such a hard time was a true gift to Jack and his family, and we will be forever grateful to her.
Jack’s last year of Jack’s life was tough. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March and underwent surgery in April, 2019. It was a difficult surgery and an even more difficult recovery. In fact, Jack never truly recovered and he never again played golf. But there were good days and good times in this last year also. Jack was able to go outside and work in his yard a little. There was also another year of birthdays and holidays celebrated, and many days spent with his family and loved ones.
From 1927 to 2020 Jack’s life was a full, beautiful inspiration on how to live with true gratefulness and love with joy, and kindness. Jack was the BEST guy… kind, loving, devoted husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and friend. He was hard-working, a man of integrity, fair mindedness and… he was truly loved by all who had the joy of knowing him.
We are forever grateful for your eternal optimism, generous heart, and ALWAYS making us feel so uniquely special and loved by you!!!
Rest in Peace.
A Celebration of life for Jack is planned, but currently postponed until after the COVID 19 quarantine is lifted. Details to be announced.
Jack's internment took place at Haven of Rest Cemetery.
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