Richard Gardner

Obituary of Richard Gardner

Richard J. Gardner, 40, of Athens, PA passed away on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 at home with his loved ones by his side.

He was born on April 27, 1978 in Somerset, NJ, the son of John R. and Denise Szerwiel Gardner.

Son, brother, husband, and father. All words that describe this amazing man who has touched many lives. While there are many who have not had the opportunity to know him and some who never will, to those who have can share a very similar story. He was a thoughtful caring individual who while appearing rough on the exterior housed a heart of gold, twice the size of a normal man. He was willing to drop what he was doing in order to help someone out. He would take a problem and dissect it to find a way. If there wasn't a way, he would make a new one.

Whether it was trying to out-do what his friends were doing while skateboarding or egging them on to try to do something that they probably shouldn't, he was there, in the moment, having fun.

Summer after summer bailing hay, stacking stone, picking corn, or whatever other chore mom and dad asked us, he was usually the one leading the charge, and concocting a plan to get it done so we could go do something more fun.

If he was out four wheeling on the farm trying to get stuck, and then digging and stacking rocks, he did what was needed to be done to get home in one piece, so we could do it again the next day. But, if someone else was there, and got hung up, he would dig them out too.

If he wasn't out doing something constructive, or destructive, he was a man of many talents outside of his occupation. He loved to draw, and sculpt, and create with his hands. With no formal training, he could be found playing drums, or guitar, and even was in a few bands. He wrote many songs, and could replicate others with his own twist, which was enjoyable by those who surrounded him.

The enjoyment he had from riding his bike was solace for him in the trying times he faced over the past two and a half years. You could see him zipping past in his Hawaiian shirt living care free. The trips were not measured in miles, rather smiles per gallon. Even last fall, he endured the cold, the wind, and the rain (which was common when he saddled up) to head to a childhood favorite place for what was later to be discovered his last big ride.

Above all this was his love for his wife Kierstin, and his two children Raven and Hudson. He was lucky enough to marry his high school sweet heart. While it was not without its trying times, this relationship endured, and blossomed into the kind of love you can only read about.

His love for his children was and will remain unmatched. Straight forward, and often blunt, but never misguided were his messages to them. There was never question that these two were his life blood and driving force, and it is our duty as his brothers, sisters, family, friends, and neighbors to ensure that they know how much he loved them and how much we loved him.

Please share a story, or a memory or a picture at dickiesmemories@gmail.com so we can make a memory book or books for his legacy to live forward.

He is predeceased by his mother, Denise Gardner and mother-in-law, Laura McCarthy.

Richard is survived by his loving wife of 14 years, Kierstin at home, children, Raven Gardner at home, Hudson Gardner at home, and Ashton Brotzman at home, father, John "Jack" Gardner of Towanda, PA, brother and sister-in-law, Alex and Sarah Gardner of Avon, OH, sister and brother-in-law, Kim and Fred Heisler of Macon, NC, father-in-law and mother-in-law, Dennis and Vicki McCarthy of Sayre, PA, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Joe and Kim McCarthy of Tucson, AZ and Josh and Kim McCarthy of Sayre, PA, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Sarah and Jeff Rae of Anderson, SC, and several aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Family and friends may call on Saturday, June 30, 2018 from 11am-1pm at the Jay E. Lowery Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 225 South Main Street, Athens, PA. Funeral services will follow at the funeral home at 1pm.

Memorial donations may be made in Richard's memory to: Project Purple, P.O. Box 884, Seymour, CT 06483 or www.projectpurple.com.