Richard “Dick” W. Gardner
May 22, 1932 – Nov. 25, 2019
Richard Wayne Gardner of Seward passed away unexpectedly Nov. 25, 2019, at age 87. On May 22, 1932, he was the first of three sons born to Guy Willard and Katie Marie (Stutzman) Gardner. Dick grew up on a farm near Goehner. He was baptized at West Fairview Mennonite Church. He graduated from Milford High School with the class of 1949.
After graduation, he drove truck for Milford Transfer and also worked with a company from Omaha that paved all of the Seward city streets. He was drafted into the United States Navy on Oct. 29, 1953, during the Korean War and served on the U.S.S. Brown. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 28, 1955.
Dick married Jean Luebbe, the love of his life, on Feb. 19, 1956, at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Staplehurst. To this union four children were born, Sheree, Deb, Bruce and Susan. In 1968 the family moved from Staplehurst to Seward, where 1542 N. Columbia became their home for the past 51 years.
Dick was self-employed his entire life. He owned and operated Gardner Feed Service for 10 years. In 1984 Dick started a 40-year career as a successful life insurance agent with Franklin Life and Farmers Mutual Hail, retiring at age 73. Dick loved to travel, play golf with friends, watch Husker football and wash and wax his cars. He loved to read, and he was an avid bird watcher.
There wasn’t a day that went by that he didn't follow a specific routine. He loved spending time with Jean every morning doing a daily devotion. Her study was small print; his was large print. He loved reading God's word and always wanted to grow in his faith. He loved his family and friends. He spent many hours supporting his grandchildren in school activities and sports. He was a longtime member of St. John Lutheran Church.
Survivors cherishing his memory include his wife of 63 years, Jean; four children, Sheree and husband Chip Soles of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Deb and husband Brian Hegeholz of Staplehurst, Bruce and wife Brooke Gardner of Windsor, Colorado, and Susan and husband Daryl Hackbart of Seward; 13 grandchildren, Brandee Soles, Ben and wife Nicole Soles, Sarah Soles, Melissa and husband Jordan Roth, Brandon Hegeholz, Kaylee and husband Jerrick Dawson, Lindsay Gardner, Samantha Gardner, Brittney Hackbart, Tyler and wife Blayne Hackbart, Jackson and wife Shelbi Hackbart, Elijah Hackbart and Micah Hackbart; nine great-grandchildren, Jack Soles, Jaleana Roth, Levi Roth, Harper Dawson, Keagan Hackbart, Drake Hackbart, Grady Hackbart, Elianah Hackbart and Gabriel Hackbart; brother, Lonny Gardner of Aurora, Colorado; two brothers-in-law, Merle and wife Lois Luebbe and Loren Luebbe; two sisters-in-law, Joan Haase and Betty and husband Duane Bender; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Jim and wife Jane Gardner; and sister-in-law, Shirley Gardner.
A funeral service was held Dec. 2, 2019, at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, with the Rev. Scott Bruick officiating. A graveside service and interment were in Greenwood Cemetery in Seward, with military honors by the United States Navy, Seward VFW Post 4755 and Seward American Legion Post 33. Memorial contributions may be made in lieu of flowers to St. John Lutheran Church, Our Redeemer’s new Ministry Center in Staplehurst, The Lutheran Hour or to the donor’s choice. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.zabkafuneralhome.com.