L.D. Gardner was born in Ringling, Oklahoma, on June 26, 1918. He was the third son and the fourth child of six children born to Joe Shelby Gardner and Emma (Washburn) Gardner.
His family moved in 1927 to Corcoran, California, where he graduated from high school in 1936.
After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy
and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. He was on the ship until he was honorably discharged in 1941.
He met Jeanette Johnstone in 1939 at the New York World's Fair, and they were married in 1940. They lived in San Diego, California, where he worked for the San Diego Express Company.
After Pearl Harbor, he re-enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served aboard the destroyer USS Cowell (DD-547). He was a plankowner of the Cowell and was in charge of the forward fireroom.
The Cowell served in the Pacific Theater through the war. It was one of the radar picket ships during the Okinawa campaign and received the Presidential Citation and earned 17 Battle Stars.
After the war, he settled in Paradise, California, and worked in the timber industry and also drove a propane truck for the Modern Gas Company. He and his family moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he worked as a security inspector at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site.
He moved to Port Townsend in 1969 and worked as a Jefferson County deputy sheriff.
He and his wife opened the Jefferson County sheriff's substation in 1970 in Clearwater, Washington. He worked at the substation until 1975.
He moved to Battle Ground, Washington, and worked for the Washington State Department of Corrections at Larch Mountain Corrections Center. He then transferred to the Clearwater Corrections Center, where he worked until his retirement in 1981.
He and his wife moved back to Port Townsend, and he went to work at Battelle Labs for a number of years as a security guard.
His wife of 60 years, Jeanette, preceded him in death in 2000.
He is survived by his two sons, Larry Gardner and his wife, Julie, of Las Vegas; and Randy Gardner and his wife, Pam, of Port Angeles.
He is also survived by three grandchildren, Michael, Matthew and David Gardner.
In lieu of flowers or memorial gifts, plant a hollyhock, which was his favorite flower.