Monday, April 27, 2020

James Hulet Gardiner 1921-2017

James Hulet Gardiner was born 1 June 1921 in Meadowcreek, Idaho to Hope Hulet and Fred Gardiner. They named him June but because some thought he was a woman he changed his name in the 1970s to James. During his lifetime most people called him J.H. Meadowcreek had no services, then or today, in fact the main population are jackrabbits. The family had no indoor bathroom or insulation, just boarded siding and a wood stove against the cold blast of the Idaho wind. James walked a mile and a half to high school each day, played the trumpet, and enjoyed listening to a crystal radio late at night when it was completely quiet. He listed the name of each station and heard some as far away as San Francisco. The girls in the family slept in the house while he and his brother, Golden, slept in a sheep wagon in the yard. When it got cold his mother heated up rocks and brought them out to provide some warmth.

James graduated from High School in 1939.  From there he studied radio at Utah State at Logan, Utah during 1940-41 and then in the summer of 1941 went to work for Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank, California building planes for the war effort. James met Elaine Scholl at church and they struck up a warm friendship. They married before he entered the service. When James was being interviewed by the armed services he  thought, because of his poor vision he would not qualify to serve. After his physical and mental evaluation the officer in charge told him he was now enlisted in the US Navy. J.H was totally shocked.  James serviced from the fall of 1943 to Jan. of 1946.  After his basic training his service consisted of going to Radio Materiel School and then teaching in that school located on Treasure Island, in the San Francisco Bay.  

When the war ended he attended to school in Utah and received a degree in Sociology from Utah Agricultural College in 1948.  James worked in television and radar servicing for a few years then went to work for National Broadcasting Co. also called NBC in 1951.  He specializing in maintaining recording equipment as an electrical engineer. At first he worked in Hollywood but when the TV station moved to Burbank he did as well.  He worked for NBC from September 22, 1951 to March 31, 1987 at which time he retired. In 1972 he went with Nixon to China. While most of the other men in his department took things to trade with the Chinese James took spare parts. During the trip there was a malfunction and James saved the day with his extra parts.

Thoughts on James Gardiner from his youngest son JT:
"A few years ago I was asked to speak in Sacrament Meeting on Fathers Day.  The bishop asked me to speak one minute before the meeting started so I did not have much time to prepare.  The one scripture that I kept thinking of to describe dad was D&C 107:99 ("Wherefore, now let everyman learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence"), and I still think that it really describes him.  My talk ended up being a talk on fathers teaching kids to work which was a major theme in dad’s life.  I asked him after I spoke what he thought the most important thing he could teach his children was and he answered “teach them how to work”.  So I guess I got the message through my thick skull after all.  And speaking of diligence, Dad was Floyd and Lucy Kennedy’s home teacher for 33 years from 1969 to 2002.  He had a standing appointment, the 1st Friday of the month for most of those 33 years.

"Regarding humor, yes his was very dry, although he did chuckle once or twice when I was doing impersonations of Rodney Dangerfield.  I know he loved Laurel & Hardy.  I recall him saying that he got to see L&H in Logan after a youth temple trip which was a thrill.  If you remember years back, L&H used to be on TV in LA for a ½ hour on weekends.  Whenever I would turn it on, he would watch and sometimes I would notice the couch was shaking from him silently laughing.  They were his brand of comedy.  I also recall going to see the Return of the Pink Panther as a family (1975-76) and being amazed to see dad laugh out loud several times, which as I recall was not all that common.

"One story, that he repeated several times, made him laugh just thinking about it.  When the LA temple had just opened, he attended what was probably a ward temple night.  Lock Hales, who was the bishop at the time, was in the dressing room in a handicap stall near dad and Bishop Hales was changing.  Apparently, another brother whose locker was in the same stall where Bishop Hales was could not wait and just came in and started changing.  Dad says he saw Bishop Hales standing there with a look that was a combination of “Why me?” and unbelief.

"When he became the physical facilities rep on the high council in 1975, he recognized that there were a lot of projects to be done and not enough budget.  As a result he took me along on a lot of work projects.  Looking back on this, I have resurfaced every cultural hall floor in the old Glendale Stake buildings (Wilson Ave, old 2nd & 4th, Elysian Park, and Highland Park) at least once, some twice, and the old Stake Center on Wilson, 3 times.  I have been on the roof of all the buildings of the stake including the Institute, and in all the attics and basements.

"Dad kept in great shape by riding his bike to work.  As I recall, he said he began riding to NBC in Burbank in 1965.  He continued riding until he retired in 1988 I believe.  You may not remember, but he and I rode our bikes from Grandma Thomsen’s apartment in Whittier to Sandy’s place in San Diego (Mira Mesa) during Easter vacation in both 1978 and 1979.  The 79 bike ride was a round trip (110 miles each way).  One kind of funny memory from the 79 trip.  It was a Monday, the day after fast Sunday.  We were within 20 miles of Sandy’s place (probably in Del Mar or Encinitas) and we stopped for water break.  Dad sat down next to a guard rail and promptly fell asleep.  He woke up a minute or two later laughing at him self thinking that passersby in cars would look at that scene and think, ”that poor teenager is standing next to a dead middle aged man.”

"As I’m sure Kent and Mark can attest, I can say unequivocally that Dad never appreciated fine rock ‘n roll.  In fact, when John was in the Bishopric, he paid me a dollar or two for a Pink Floyd poster on my wall and then he and dad had a delightful time ripping it to shreds.  When they were done, all dad could say was “That was fun.  Are there any more to rip up?”  (He also did not appreciate rock at loud volumes the same way I did.  No wonder my bedroom for years was in the back of the house.)

"Living in southern California, I know dad sort of enjoyed the earthquakes.  More than once he commented how he liked to watch how things in the house moved when the earth moved.  Nature in action, literally.  He passed on that rather dark trait to me, I love watching and listening to things when we have the shakers.

"Gayle, I’m sure you recall when we would go to visit Grandma Gardiner, how try as we might he would not stop for much other than gas (which included bathroom breaks) and flat tires.  (Sandy, sorry to exclude you but I think because of our age difference, by the time my memories begin of vacations [circa 1967 age 3] you were off at BYU)  I recall we used to stop at a drive-in burger place in St. George for burgers, hot dogs, and soft ice cream.  We always looked forward to this because we could get Sprite, which was not sold in California until 1979.  We also stopped at a Skaggs drug store in Brigham City for triple scoop ice cream cones on the way to Malta.  Other than that, we just did not stop.  I remember year after year begging to stop at Calico Ghost town outside of Barstow.  Never happened.  I know mom always wanted to stop in St George on those hot summer evenings “and throw all the kids in the pool.”  Dad wouldn’t because it was best to cross the desert in a VW Bus at night.  The bus did not have air conditioning and it did not have a radiator; the engine was air cooled.  Another life lesson learned on vacation with Dad.  “The only good thing about Las Vegas is it has the cheapest gas between LA & Provo.”  In 1970 or 1971 soon after I-15 was completed between Cedar City and St George, we passed by the Kolob Canyons part of Zion National Park right at sunset.  With the sun at that angle, the huge red cliffs within Kolob Canyons looked like they were on fire.  An absolutely beautiful sight.  From then on, every trip we took up to Utah & Idaho, we asked, begged and pleaded with Dad for us to just stop and take a look at Kolob Canyons.  It never happened for us as a family, at least not with any of the kids.  I was on my mission in Argentina, and had been there several months when mom leaked a small bit of info in one of her weekly letters.  She said something to the effect of “such and such was almost as pretty as Kolob Canyons when dad took us there.”  I wrote back “Um, mom, I’ve never been to Kolob Canyons.  When exactly did dad take you there?”  Her response a few weeks later (due to the efficiency & speed of the Argentine postal service) was “Oh that’s right.  Right after we dropped you off at the Missionary Training Center, we drove home and on the way dad said “Carol, let’s stop and see Kolob Canyons”.  Sooooo.  I get the picture.  Wait until the last kid is safely locked up in the confines of the MTC and then go to see the place that all the kids have been whining to see with out any kids.  She did not say if they stopped at Calico…but now I wonder.

"Dad loved and revered his parents, particularly his mother.  I have always had wanderlust and even as a little boy I wanted to see places; the national parks have always intrigued me.  I asked him once why we never really did much sightseeing on our vacations.  He told me that to him it was more important for us kids to spend time getting to know his mother and appreciate her than to go sight seeing, and that he wanted us to have as much time with her as possible.

Because of his position at NBC, he was given some rather unique assignments. I always found it ironic that a man who really had no interest in sports he had to operate the video machines at major sports events and he really could have cared less what the event even was.  He operated the video at the Rose Bowl game several times.  In 1974 he also worked the machines at Dodger Stadium for both the National League playoff (Dodgers vs Pirates) and the World Series (Dodgers lost to the Oakland A’s).  Although he did not particularly like sports, he knew that I as a 10 year old boy loved the Dodgers and he brought me home a couple of souvenirs from the ‘74 world series that I still have.  Dad’s only souvenir from the 74 world series was a 2 gallon jug of dill pickles which he enjoyed over the next week or so.  I remember him being quite please with it.  (His station was right behind a food concession stand).

"He also was assigned to go to China with NBC news for Nixon’s trip in Winter 1972.  I recall this vividly since I turned 8 years old on Jan 28, 1972 and dad was in China.  My baptism had to be delayed until March waiting for him to get back.  As a gift after the China trip, dad gave me the tool case he took complete with a TWA ID sticker.  I still have it.

"I know he was quite proud of his kids when they accomplish significant things.  I recall he was very pleased when I finished up four years of perfect attendance at early morning seminary.  He was also pleased at high school and college graduation ceremonies.  I recall he was quite pleased with my steady employment through high school at Pat’s Ol’ Fashioned Meat Market and my 2 summers working as a student engineer at Kiewit Pacific Construction.  He always seemed happy on wedding days for the kids and when the boys came home from missions.  Looking back, I think the happiest I ever saw him was on the day Jeff got married.  If you look at the picture of mom and dad from Jeff’s reception, I think that is the biggest smile I ever saw on his face.

The one thing he did not like about my steady employment was that by his judgment, I bought way too many records of loud, obnoxious rock bands.  He said many times “JT you will rue the day you ever bought so many records.” (Over my teen years I probably owned the equivalent of 3 or 4 produce crates full of records)  That day still has not arrived.  In fact I have sold most of my old records and have replaced them with CD’s. JT

"Dad loved to read.  I think it was the one thing he did to relax and recharge his batteries.  Late Saturday afternoons you usually found him on the couch reading (either preparing his Sunday school lesson or reading just for the fun of it.)  More than a few of the kids turned out to be voracious readers (myself included, I’m not happy unless I am reading anywhere from 3 to 5 books at a time).

"Dad was also rather blunt at times.  I will never forget being dropped off at the MTC waiting to go into the meeting where they separate those who do not know what they are getting into from their parents, and dad asking the kid in line next to me “So where are you going?”  The missionary says “Ecuador.”  Dad’s response “Make sure you don’t come home with any parasites.  They’re pretty bad”  The missionary’s mother had a look of shock on her face.  I was looking for the nearest rock to crawl under.  He reminded me many times “JT, you’ve gotta have a thick hide to be a member of this church.”  I’ve often wondered if this would be an appropriate slogan for a new proselyting program for the church.  As a result of his work on the high council, he told me many times that when it comes to dealing with the church building department, it’s best to leave your testimony at the door of their office because there isn’t a shred of inspiration (or even common sense) inside.

"One last thought, from a young age I have enjoyed trains.  Still do.  Dad was not a time waster.  But I remember a few times where he and I were in the car and he saw a train a little ways off and he slowed down so we would have to stop while the train passed and I would get to watch the train.  Luckily for him, at that time the Southern Pacific always ran full speed through Glendale, so he did not have to wait long."

James Gardiner's death:
 J.H. aka James Gardiner  passed away at age 86 at his home in Glendale on June 20, 2007 with his oldest son Kent present. A Funeral Service was held Saturday, June 30, 2007, 10:00 a.m., at the LDS Church, 1101 N. Central Ave., Glendale, with Interment at Valhalla Memorial Park. Crippen Mortuary Directors.

James Hulet Gardiner full history from journals
James Hulet Gardinershort autobiography
The Washed Window favorite story

Documents related to James Hulet Gardiner:

1021 June Gardiner, birth certificate

1922, June, Meadowcreek, Idaho

1038 LtR Dawn, Mary, Frank, James, Gloria, Margaret Gardiner

1938 June aka James Gardiner'
in his band uniform

1940 Raft River High School band with James
second from right in glasses.

1939 High School Graduation Diploma

In 1940 JHG is a 19 year old freshman at USAC (Utah State
 Agricultural College) and lists his major as Radio. 

1940 James Gardiner, far left in glasses,
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hollywood Ward.

1940 James Gardiner back row, fourth from right
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hollywood Ward.

1943, James, Elaine Gardiner

1942 Draft registration card page 1

1942 Draft registration card page 2

JHG in Navy Uniform

1943 Electronic Technician 1st Class

1943 James and Elaine Gardiner

1948 James Gardiner

1951 Lockheed Aircraft pay stub
1951 Tithing Receipt signed by W. G Edling

1953 LtR Mark, James, Sandra, Elaine, Janice, Kent Gardiner

1950s Brand Blvd is the main street in
Glendale. This is how it appeared in
the 1950s. The Verdugo Mountains
are in the background.

1961, James and Carol Gardiner marriage day

1970, James at NBC working on video machine

James center back with his fellow
NBC workers.

1972, James with President Nixon visiting China
1972 Toolbox JHG took to China with
TWA sticker as referenced in the  bio
by his son JT.

1972 Toolbox JHG took to China with
TWA sticker as referenced in the  bio
by his son JT.

1983 Carol and James Gardiner

1991 Ashley and James Gardiner

Mesothelioma (or, more precisely, malignant mesothelioma) is a rare form of cancer that develops from transformed cells originating in the mesothelium, the protective lining that covers many of the internal organs of the body. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.

Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, CA

Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, CA