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James Gardner peacefully passed away at his home in Pryor, Okla., on March 3, 2014.
Friends knew him as "Jim" or "Jimmy Joe" – a lovable nickname he earned in his childhood days growing up in Grant county.
Jim dedicated his professional life to his community and spent his time as an educator, working for the Grant County School System, following in the footsteps of his parents Marion and Pauline Gardner.
Gardner leaves behind a family that he loved dearly; his wife, Jacqueline Gardner of Pryor, Okla; five children, Jenny Roye, Jamie Kellam, Johnna Gardner, Tammy Notestine and Deana Spears; 10 grandchildren, Kaylee Early, Tyler Roye, Sarah Kellam, Cody Kellam, Johnathan Gardner, Jasey Gardner, Tassy Tomlin, DJ Bailey, Cason Spears and Cayla Spears; and five great-grandchildren, Lane Tomlin, Billy Cole Tomlin, Brooklyn Tomlin, Jake Allen and Kelsey Bailey.
Jim was diagnosed with dementia in 2010. In 2011, he and his wife moved to Pryor, where they lived at the home of Shawn and Deana Spears.
Jim's days were always filled with joy. His famous saying was, "see you later," which was always accompanied with his most famous expression – a smile. Jim loved his dog, Sophia, watching Dr. Phil and listening to music. His favorite bands were The Beatles, Kris Kristofferson, Garth Brooks and the Gaithers. Oftentimes you would catch him singing and dancing along to his favorite songs. His infectious and lively spirit was deeply loved and admired by friends and family alike.
Even after his death, Jim's grace, humility and thirst for knowledge still carries on. Shortly after his diagnosis, Jim decided he would donate his body to the United Tissue Bank for dementia research. Today, Alzheimer's disease and dementia are incurable ailments that affect more than five million Americans.
In the end – fittingly – Jim will always be part of helping others. That is and will forever be his legacy.
His family loved him dearly.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the
in his name. To donate, visit www.crowdrise.com/InHonorOfJimGardner
Published in Grant County News from Mar. 10 to Mar. 13, 2014