Sunday, November 14, 2010

Andrew Bruce Gardner: Obituary

The following was published in the Star Valley Independent, 10 October 1963, pages 1 and 6:

A. Bruce Gardner,
Valley Pioneer,
Dies at Age 89

A. Bruce Gardner, 89, respected citizen of Afton and one of Star Valley's earliest pioneers, died at the Star Valley LDS Hospital in Afton Wednesday morning, following a stroke and two weeks of hospital confinement.

Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the Afton First Ward Chapel, under the direction of the First Ward Bishopric. Friends may call Thursday afternoon from 1 p.m. on at the Schwab Mortuary, or after 10 a.m. Friday morning at the Milford Gardner home.

He was born Feb. 5, 1874, the oldest of seven children born to Archibald and Mary Gardner, at West Jordan, Utah. His father was an empire builder who settled with the Mormons in Utah. As a boy, Bruce worked with his father building sawmills and flour mills and canals in Utah and Wyoming. When he was 16 years old he came to Star Valley, 1890, settling in Afton, and the Gardners built and operated both a sawmill and flour mill, both water-powered. Bruce continued to be associated with this pioneer enterprise with his brothers and son until his health forced him to retire a few years ago.

His future wife, Elizabeth Baxter, came to Star Valley with her parents, John and Nellie Ross Baxter, a few months before Bruce arrived, settling in Thayne, and it was there he met her and started courting her. He described this courtship and marriage in his diary as follows:

"I began courting their lovely brown-eyed daughter, Elizabeth. I liked her ways and looks better than any girl I'd seen. We were married in 1894 in the home that burned down where (his brother) Frank's home now stands (at the mouth of Swift Creek Canyon in Afton). We had a wedding dance in the mill that night. We were sealed in the fall in the Salt Lake Temple, because high water kept us from going to the temple in the spring when we were married."

They had born to this union seven children, all of whom are living at this time. His wife passed away 16 years ago, and he has lived in his own home most of this time since. He has spent several winters in California with his family members there.

His death was caused by a stroke which occurred Sept. 22, followed by two weeks of confinement in the local hospital, where he received the best of care by doctors, nurses and his family. His loss to the community will be felt by friends and family.

He took pride in baptizing all his children, and many of his grandchildren, besides hundreds of other children.

He served as a constable of the Town of Afton, as a town councilman, and was a member of the school board. He worked in the flour mill and sawmills for over 60 years, and was a well known sheepman in his early days. He assisted all of his sons and daughters with home buildings, farming, or other work that needed doing.

He was a very modest person, who never took or asked for credit when he had done a piece of work or favor. Getting it done was most important to him.

He is survived by the following sons and daughters: John Roy, Afton; LaVere, Afton; Muriel Veach, Corona, Calif., Milford I., Afton; Thelma Emerson, Pomona, Calif.; Olive Thatcher, Sonoma, Calif.; and Ross, Afton. Also surviving are 28 grandchildren, 91 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great grandchildren; two brothers, Franklin R., Afton, and Wilford, Salt Lake City; and one sister, Mrs. Lillian Gardner, Salt Lake City.

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