James T. Gardner, Jr., age 95, a resident of Colorado Springs since 1957, entered eternal life on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at a local hospital. Mr. Gardner was born on September 10, 1917 in Milburn, Oklahoma to the late James T. and Myrtle (Burton) Gardner. He was educated at Oklahoma City University and graduated in 1953. He married Hazel Armstrong in 1949 at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Hazel preceded him in death in April of 2013. Mr. Gardner retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1977. During his Air Force career, he served with the 57th Fighter Group during World War II, flying fighter bomber missions in North Africa and Italy. He later commanded the 10th Tactical Recon Squadron through the end of the war. He was Commander of the 72nd Liaison Squadron from 1949 through 1952 when he commanded the unit at Langley Air Force, Virginia, Newfoundland and Greenland. He was a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, Montgomery, Alabama and received several awards and decorations during his military service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters. He also worked as an Attack Warning Officer at NORAD, founded Templeton Gap Turf Farm, and operated a cattle/farming ranch in Boone, Colorado, retiring at age 80. He was a devoted father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, a hard worker, and a personable, gentle man. James is survived by his daughter, Jamie Stata (husband, James); two beloved grandchildren: Rachel Boaz (husband, Kevin), and Matthew Stata (wife, Lara); seven great-grandchildren, who gave him great joy; and a sister-in-law, Cathy Gardner. He was preceded in death by his five brothers and three sisters, and a great-grandchild, Simeon Peniel Stata. A visitation will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at the Shrine of Remembrance Funeral Home. Funeral Services will follow at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Shrine of Remembrance "America the Beautiful" Chapel. Entombment will be at the Shrine of Remembrance Mausoleum. A reception will follow at the Olympian Plaza Reception and Event Center, 975 South Union Boulevard. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Mr. Gardner's name may be made to Radio Bible Class Ministries, P.O. Box 264, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. Online Condolences: ShrineOfRemembrance.com
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Published in The Gazette on June 23, 2013