June 23, 1945 – June 11, 2022 (age 76)
Richard “Skip” D. Gardner – Downey, Idaho. Skip was born on June 23, 1945 to Margie Sexton and Vernon Gardner in Pocatello, Idaho. He spent his early years at his grandparents’ farm in Inkom – roaming the hills, riding horses, and having fun with his cousins. Later, the family moved to Dubois, Idaho. This is where Skip spent most of his school years, and where he made many lifelong friends who were very special to him. With a “gift of gab”, he told many stories of “ordeals” around Medicine Lodge and the surrounding Dubois area. He and his friends conjured up many adventures during these adolescent years.
Skip’s father was a Fish and Game officer who instilled in Skip a lasting love of the outdoors, hunting, and fishing. Hunting grew into a lifelong passion of his. So much so, Skip eagerly anticipated every hunting season and managed to go elk hunting for three seasons after being told he only had months to live.
Skip served in Vietnam for the U.S. Army. He was proud of his service and was an active member of the American Legion Post 21 of Downey. He retired from the Pocatello Fire Department after a 25-year career. He loved his coworkers at the fire department, and he could tell endless stories of his time working with them. Several years later, a friend asked him to help out and take a summer job with Bannock County. This “summer” job lasted 16 years.
Skip grew up playing card games with his family. He loved playing cribbage and a family favorite, “hell”, with family and friends. He truly enjoyed casual poker games as well – playing cards and spending time with good friends. He really missed not being able to attend “poker night”, when his health no longer permitted him to go.
Skip enjoyed living in Marsh Valley where he had so many friendships, wonderful neighbors, and incredible, long-term friends and ranch partners (Ray and Dana Marler). His family would like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to all of his friends and neighbors for their love and support over the years and to all of those who went above and beyond to help out in recent years. His family would also like to send out a special thanks to the “woodcutting crew” of the American Legion Post 21 and the many friends that joined in the wood cutting efforts – in spite of being incredibly busy themselves. The family feels truly blessed.
Skip is survived by his wife, Jody Gardner; daughter, Tess Oldemeyer (Bryce); his sons, Kirk Gardner, Kelly Gardner (Kim), and Rich Gardner; brother, Michael Peck (Laura Cameron); cousins, Christine Miller, Scott Sexton (Madrilena Bradley), Robin Sexton; 10 grandkids; 12 great grandkids; extended family; and countless friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; former spouse, Joyce Wood; brother, Gary Gardner; and cousin, Susy McAleer.
The family plans to hold a celebration of life at a later date.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at Horsley Funeral Homes.