Friday, January 25, 2013

Richard Arthur Gardiner II 1912 - 2010

Birth: Nov. 19, 1912
Death: Dec. 14, 2010

Peggy was born in Milford, Utah, December 30, 1914 to Herbert and Ruby Thiessen Nichols; and Dick was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 13, 1912, to Richard Arthur Gardiner and Claire Midgley Gardiner. Peggy spent most of her childhood in Salt Lake City where she met and fell in love with Dick. She was the love of Dick's life as he was hers, and they were married on January 18, 1936. Theirs was a strong marriage that spanned 74 wonderful years.

Peggy died February 19 at the age of 95 at University Hospital, and on December 14, just 10 months later, Dick followed her peacefully at his home at the age of 98. Peggy's greatest joy was being a wonderful partner and helpmate to her husband, raising and providing for their three children, and being a loving and supportive "Grammy" to their grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was an accomplished seamstress, a wonderful cook, and an avid reader-often sharing her books with family and friends. She enjoyed golf, bowling, and up to the end relished playing (and winning) a competitive hand of bridge. Peggy will be dearly missed for her quick and funny sense of humor and her constant smile, but most of all we will never forget the loving, formative role she played in all our lives. None of us could have asked for a better wife, mother, grandmother, or friend.

Dick attended the University of Utah where he completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies, and later taught Chemistry to students in the School of Nursing. He was a member of the Engineering Club, the American Chemical Society, the Sigma Psi Honorary Society, vice president of the Phi Pi Phi fraternity, and was a member of the Utah Ski Club in the pioneering days of Utah skiing. He was charter president of Dilworth Lion's Club and served a second term as president. Dick loved to teach-anyone about anything! He had unlimited patience and would continue to work at it until his pupil "got it," regardless of who the pupil was or how long it took. He tutored his children and grandchildren extensively and patiently, ultimately tutoring his last grandchild through AP calculus at the age of 88. Dick's chosen profession would have been that of a university professor, but the pressures of business and family led him in a different direction. He joined his father managing and soon taking over full responsibility for the concessions at Liberty Park. His love of children made him a natural for this role. During his 60-year tenure at "the park," Dick provided summer jobs for countless young people. Through his tutelage and example, he had a lasting influence on the lives of so many of them. Dick was a true renaissance man. He knew something about almost everything and could do or figure out almost anything-from inventing and putting together an electrical circuit to designing and building a beautiful custom home for his wife and family.

But what he cherished most was his wife of 74 years, his children, grandchildren, and great grand-children. He related to them with boundless energy, patience, and enthusiasm. He was most happy helping a two year old take apart an old clock, riding an escalator endlessly and explaining how it worked, helping to build creations in his shop, walking the forests as a dwarf to Snow White, making stage sets and costumes for a three year old budding actress. He loved helping all of us grow into the individuals we are today. He adored and cared for his wife of 74 years up to the very day she died. The relationship between the two of them was a very special one; but with Peggy's death the light of Dick's life was over and his purpose for being had come to an end. Dick loved the poetry and the message of the Rubaiyat, and he was finally granted his one last and most fervent wish-to join her in "oblivion or eternal glory." They were both very special people and a very special couple; we will miss them dearly. Richard and Peggy are survived by their three children, Richard (Elf), Barry (Pam), and Kathy LaPine (Jack), by seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. A private family memorial has been held in memory of our wonderful parents.

Published in Deseret News from December 18 to December 19, 2010