Friday, November 26, 2010

Brigham Ozro Gardner: Obituary

The following was published in the Star Valley Independent, 11 Oct 1957, pp. 1, 10:

Services Held for Star Valley Pioneer

Brigham Ozro Gardner, Star Valley pioneer, passed away Wednesday, October 2, 1957 at the LDS Hospital at Afton, Wyoming of causes incident to age.

Mr. Gardner was the son of Archibald Gardner and Laura Althea Thompson, 1847 pioneers to Salt Lake City, Utah. His father was a polygamist and Ozro was his forty-second child. With the passing of Ozro, all members of this large family have gone on, with the exception of six members of the last family who survive him. They are Bruce, Clarence, Edward, Wilford, Frank Gardner and Lillian Garner.

Ozro was born at West Jordan, Utah, March 17, 1872 and he spent his boyhood days there. When he was a young man he came to Star Valley to operate a saw mill which was owned by his father. He became acquainted with Emma Michaelson of Thayne, Wyoming, or Glencoe as it was then called. Emma was also a member of a polygamist family and her mother had recently moved to Star Valley from St. Charles, Idaho, where Emma was born. They had an unusual and thrilling romance and were married November 8, 1893 in the Salt Lake Temple. They made their home two miles north of Afton, where they took up a homestead. To this union were born nine sons and three daughters.

As the family grew Mr. Gardner was able to build a home three different times to accommodate his large family. This family was a very busy and happy one and the home north of Afton became a sacred institution to all of the members, and their children.

After most of the children were married, Mr. and Mrs. Gardner moved to their home in Afton. Shortly after this Mrs. Gardner suffered a stroke which made her an invalid and three years later she passed away. That was eleven years ago and during that time Mr. Gardner has maintained his home at Afton alone, except for some assistance from his family and friends. He preferred the feeling of independence in his own home to any other way of life.

Mr. Gardner was interested in building up his community and in 1911 and 1912 he was a member of the House of Representatives. He was Water Commissioner of this district for 17 years. He was interested in sports and in the world about him. As a young man he was an expert rifleman and a proficient swimmer and diver.

During the flu epidemic in 1918 and 1919 he rendered much service in the community. He was an active member of the LDS Church. For five years he was the Superintendent of the YM-MIA; for six years a member of the Stake Sunday School and Stake MIA organizations; for 14 years a member of the Afton Ward Bishopric when Bp. Osborne Low was the bishop; he was in the High Council a number of years and in the High Priests' Quorum presidency for 12 year; he has worked as Advisor to the Senior Aaronic Priesthood members for many years and has been a Ward Teacher for most of his life. He was a Ward Teacher until just prior to his death. He has been a faithful and devoted member of the Church all his life. In all of the service which he rendered he "walked humbly before the Lord" He was not beset with doubts and confusions for he received many remarkable manifestations of the life beyond the grave. During the last six weeks of his illness he did not complain and he appreciated everything that was done for his comfort.

He took great pride in his family and encouraged them to activity in the church. He sent three sons on foreign missions. Mr. Gardner and his wife and their family also made a great contribution in the field of music to the communities where they live. He has a great many friends among all ages, who will miss his kindly advice, and he always claimed that he had the best neighbors in the world. Surely he left a great and noble heritage to his family by the life that he lived and the guidance he gave to them.

His wife and three children preceded him in death, two during infancy and Arch who passed away in 1950. He is survived by six sons and three daughters, W. Ivan Gardner, Afton, Wyo.; Arling Gardner, Gulfport, Miss.; J. Obed and Orrin Gardner, Logan, Utah; Lloyd Gardner, Midvale, Utah; Mrs. Enoch Hillyard (Elona), Logan, Utah; Mrs. Elno Draney (Laura), Afton; and Mrs. John A. Hopkin (Bonita), Palo Alto, Calif. He is also survived by 51 grandchildren and 61 great grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Saturday, at 1 p.m. in the Afton First Ward Chapel where many relatives and friends met to pay tribute to him. There was a profusion of flowers filling to overflowing the room where he laid in state at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Elno Draney. Interment was in the Afton cemetary.

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