Gale Eugene "Gene" Gardner

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gale Eugene (Gene) Gardner was born May 10, 1922, the eighth of eight children to John Warren and Nancy (Hamm) Gardner. He passed away at his home in rural Sheldon, Mo., on Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014.

Gene was raised on a farm near Milford, Mo., and went to school in Milford. On his eighth birthday his dad was going outside to plant corn. He told his dad that he could do that and he started working that day. He said he has always enjoyed working. On Nov. 7, 1942, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and received training as an airplane and engine mechanic in Las Vegas, Nev. He was transported by train from Las Vegas to the east coast and departed, by ship, on Oct. 21, 1943, and arrived in England on Nov. 3, 1943. He was stationed in Blackpool, England, and later in Erding, Germany. He served with the European Theatre for 32 months and earned the title of Staff Sergeant. He received a European African Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal and five overseas bars.

Gene married Bonnie Finch when he returned home and they made their home in Panhandle, Texas. In 1952, Gene was called back into service. Bonnie and Gene sold their home in Panhandle, packed their possessions and started the move back to Missouri. They didn't make it very far when they got the news that Gene did not need to report to the Armed Service. Since they were already on their way, they continued their trip to Missouri and bought the farm where they remained for the rest of their lives. On the farm he enjoyed baling hay and caring for the cattle they raised.

Gene worked road construction for many years. He was a member of Operating Engineers Union and worked on many different crews building roads and other construction projects. He was the first dozer into the area which later became Stockton Lake. He worked on the construction of the North Park Mall in Joplin, and he was also part of the crew that built the berm on the Missouri River near the St. Louis Arch.

Gene was a member of the Montevallo Masons and later transferred to Stockton when the Montevallo chapter closed.

Survivors include two daughters, Nahwana and Johnny Maslen, of El Dorado Springs, Mo., and Karma Curtis and Jack Sportsman of Lamar, Mo.; one son, Jim and Sheila Gardner of Branson, Mo.; 11 grandchildren, Justin, Karla, Bobby, Kim, Jimmy, Shane, Rachel, Shannon, Chandler and Lexa; 20 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Fontella Brown, of Des Moines, Iowa; and several nieces and nephews. Gene was preceded in death by his mother and father; brothers, Harold Gardner, Tom Gardner, and William Gardner; sisters, Della Westcoat, Ruby McIntosh, and Clovis Armstrong.

He had a special relationship with many of you. He had a big heart and let others know how important they were to him.

Contributions may be made in his memory to Olive Branch Cemetery Association in care of Ferry Funeral Home.

Graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Aug. 6, at Olive Branch Cemetery, Milo, Mo., with the Rev. Lester Lowrey officiating. Friends may call now until the hour of service at Ferry Funeral Home, Nevada. The family will receive friends from 10 to 11 a.m., prior to the service at the funeral home.

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