Colonel Robert E. Gardner (1934-2005)

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Robert E. Gardner, 71, died in East Verde Park Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005.

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Robert Gardner

Born to Elmer and Delores (Lola) Gardner in Bisbee, Gardner lived in variety of places, from Wyoming to Texas, and finally made Payson his home.

In the late 50s, Gardner started work with the Arizona Public Service Co. and became involved with the Arizona Army National Guard. He was lured away from Arizona by the city of Dallas, which hired him as director of business for its water utility. After 15 years in that position, Gardner retired to Payson.

Gardner served the community in a variety of capacities: as a Payson mayoral election campaign adviser, East Verde Park HOA president, and on a board tapped to devise a long-term solution to the Payson-area water supply.

He was a graduate of Glendale High School, an alumnus of the University of Phoenix, and a member of the Elks, Rotary and Free Masons fraternal organizations.

His mother, father and sister, Anna Jean Cullinan, preceded him in death. Gardner is survived by his wife Matalyn; sons Robert M. and Thomas F. Gardner, of Phoenix; daughter Cathy L. Samuelson of San Diego; stepsons, William and John Harp of Reno; stepdaughters, Marcia Elliott of Carol Stream, Ill. and Michelle Sanders of Dallas; brother William Gardner of Glendale; and sisters Betty Larsen of Brookings, S.D. and Carol Hardy of Humble, Texas; 15 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held by the Free Masons at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 11 at Free Masons Lodge 70, 200 E. Rancho Road, Payson. A formal military service at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix is pending.

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