Vincent Funeral Homes
120 Albany Turnpike
Canton, CT

GARDINER, Richard C.

Richard C. Gardiner, 84 of Canton, CT died unexpectedly on Thursday, July 18, 2013. Son of Henry M. and Aurelie Schwiers Gardiner, he grew up in Glastonbury, CT and Stonington, CT. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in Newfoundland, Canada, Dick attended the University of Maine where he spent much of his time exploring the White Mountains and the trails on Katahdin, his favorite mountain, with the Outing Club. He returned to Connecticut, earning a BS in Biology at Central Connecticut State University and an MS in Botany at UConn. He first taught science and math at Pomfret Community School and then Earth Science at Bulkeley High School. Dick was passionate about education and empowering students in Hartford. He led bicycle and hiking clubs to reach out to students, teaching them about the environment, self-worth, and respect. Dick was proud to be a member of the National Ski Patrol for over 45 years, patrolling at Ski Sundown ever since it was known as Satan's Ridge. He was one of Connecticut's first Outdoor Emergency Care trainers, teaching first aid and training the instructors. He set up the Connecticut Region Nordic Ski Patrol program in the 1970s, and was the area's Mountain Travel and Rescue Instructor Trainer as well as a Level II Avalanche Instructor. Dick received his National number in 1986, a great honor for any patroller. His proudest moment was teaching two of his grandchildren as they joined the patrol. The woods and mountains of New England were his second home, hiking and climbing throughout the White Mountains since the 1950's. He cut ski trails during the development of Sugarloaf ski area, built lean-to's in northern Maine and in the White Mountains, and has hiked and skied many of the trails and climbing routes of the Presidential Range, the Shenandoah, and Mt Katahdin. In recent years, Dick could often be found on the trails at the Roaring Brook Nature Center, Stratton Brook, or McLean Game Refuge. Dick was an avid cyclist, commuting from Canton to Hartford by bicycle daily since the 1960's. He raced as a member of the Nutmeg Wheelmen cycling club and was the 1976 State's National time-trial champion. When not on a bicycle or hiking trail, Dick rowed and kayaked in the Farmington River, building the wooden kayaks he and his family paddled. His greatest joy was sharing his love of the outdoors with family and friends. Dick will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 56 years, Betsy, daughter Lee Barba and her husband Chris of West Granby, son Bill Gardiner and his wife Jo of Bainbridge Island, WA and by his beloved grandchildren Madison, Cody and Alex who he was so very proud of. He also leaves behind a large and happy family: Allen and Harriett Gardiner of New Jersey, Ray and Donna Gardiner of Maryland, Aurelie Palmer of Waterford, Linda and Gerry Raulinaitis of Manchester, Ellie and John Flavell of California as well as nieces and nephews Byron, Sandy and Kathryn, Tom, Anne Marie and Matt, Doug, Judy, Kim and Katy Rose, Lynn and AJ, Christine, Pete and Garrett, Walter Jr, Beth, Jim and Phil, Ben, Karna, and Catherine. Dick will also be truly missed by his many friends and extended ski patrol family.
Calling hours will be on Friday, July 26th from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Vincent Funeral Home, 120 Albany Turnpike in Canton, CT. A memorial service will be held at Ski Sundown in New Hartford, CT on Sunday July 28th at 10:00 AM. Memorial Donations may be given to the Roaring Brook Nature Center, a spot Dick loved to walk and whose mission he supported at 70 Gracey Road, Canton CT 06019. Please visit Dick's "Book of Memories" at for online condolences.

Published by Hartford Courant on Jul. 22, 2013.
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31 Entries
Mr Gardiner as we all called him was an inspiration as well as an excellent teacher ..I went on a few backpacking
and bike touring trips with him ...Learned an enormous amount of outdoor skills through him that I continue to
to use today including a really nice pair of glacier glasses that he gave back in 1970 ...I think of Mr Gardiner often
when I am on my bike or on a trail which for me luckily is often ...Mr Gardiner was a special person that had the
gift of enthusiasm for life and to be able to pass it on to others ...Thankyou Richard...
George Winter
July 17, 2019
Everyone was inspired by Dick!My life was enriched knowing him. He'll be missed.
Lucille Blue...BHS
Lucille Blue
August 7, 2013
I am so saddened to hear of your loss. I often saw Dick working out at the gym in Simsbury and will miss him.
A friend from Big Sky.
Lynn Kowal
August 5, 2013
one of the nicest persons i've met in my life. i will always miss you.
elaine greider
July 29, 2013
I really enjoyed working with Dick on the National Ski Patrol. He provided me with much constructive, honest, frank advice regarding instructing which has been very helpful to me in many ways. I was in awe of Dick working years in the Hartford in the public school system introducing many kids to the outdoors.

I will keep that image of him in his early 80s skiing with us down the expert level steeps on Whiteface Mountain maintaining good form with a pack on, whooping it up with us on a bright sunny chilly morning at one of our avalanche classes. I will miss him.
Mark Renson
July 29, 2013
Mr. Gardiner was also my Earth Science teacher my freshman year at Bulkeley High in 1979, he was a phenomenal teacher, and an inspiring man. He will truly be missed.....
Helene Fabrycki-Lynch
July 26, 2013
My deepest condolences to Mr Gardiner's family, he was truly a respected figure during my high school years
Olga Rivera-Irizarry
July 26, 2013
One of my favorite high school teachers. You will be missed by many. My thoughts and prayers go out to all your loved ones.
Lisa Foss
July 26, 2013
I wish Mr. Gardiner's family my deepest sympathy. He was truly a special teacher and friend to his student's. May you find comfort in the knowledge that he touched so many people with his smiling face.
Cindy Donofrio
July 26, 2013
I feel so blessed to have run into Mr.Gardiner a few years back and the chance to talk about life and the time he taught my Earth Science class in the early 70's. As a teenager, I was so impressed by him as a teacher and the fact that he rode his bike to school everyday, but when I met him again recently, he inspired me by his presence alone, his love of life and abilities to remain so active. He truly made a difference in this world.
My sincere condolences,
Theresa Bedard Roesch
Theresa Bedard Roesch
July 26, 2013
My heart goes out to Mr. Gardiner's family. R.I.P.
Tina Soucier (Mozzicato)
July 25, 2013
One of the most inspiring teachers I ever had. He will be remembered with great admiration and respect. My thoughts are with his family & friends. I am truly sorry for your loss.
Christine O'Halloran
July 25, 2013
He was my Earth Science teacher in 1975.What a great teacher..Sherri Ziegler
July 24, 2013
"A life well lives", Dick will be missed by his many students and friends from Bulkeley High. He was an admazing teacher who always had a cheerful word and a smile for everone. I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife and family and will always keep Dck in my thoughts and prayers.
Charles Wagar
July 24, 2013
Mr. Gardiner was a great teacher. I had him my freshman year for Earthscience. Started me on my career in teaching science and now as a safety engineer.
Joe V. Montinieri
July 24, 2013
Many days going to work at Bulkeley H.S. I would be tired just walking from my car to the building-and then around the corner would coast Dick on his bike, that heart-filling smile on his face and a big hello for all, ready to start his day at work. No small inspiration! He was a special man, a teacher whose classroom had no walls and, I'm sure, one of Mother Nature's favorites:-) Dick will be sorely missed but certainly not forgotten. He always brightened my days and I know he'll be doing it now from above. Blessings to all the family and thanks for sharing him with us all. Peace-
Deb Horrigan
July 23, 2013
Betsy, Lee, Bill....My heart breaks for you all... You have lost Such a kind and gentle soul....It fills me with sadness to lose another connection to my folks...If it is any consolation I have no doubt that Sam and Mary and Uncle Harold have welcomed Dick with open arms And a pair of skis!
Marianne Humphrey Burbank
July 23, 2013
July 23, 2013
Mr. Gardener you will be missed! I pray for your family during this difficult time! You were a great teacher and mentor!
Roxanne Serrao
July 23, 2013
An inspiring teacher and soulful man. He inspired many in many ways and will not be forgotten. God bless him and his family and friends.
Romina Ghirlanda Italia
July 23, 2013
I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Gardiner family.
I had Mr. Gardiner my freshman year at Bulkeley, and I was also a member of the bicycle club. During that first summer Mr. Gardiner lead a small group of us from the bike club on a 10 day biking and camping trip into through the Adirondacks, at one point crossing over the border into Canada. I can still see him by the sign that said “Welcome to Quebec” holding up his arms and saying “Through the power vested in me by the king of the road, I declare us owners of 4 states and 2 countries!” I was amazed and humbled by the fact that none of us teenagers could keep pace with him even though he was 50 years old at the time. I have fond memories of his sense of humor and knowledge about the environment. I learned a lot in his Earth Science class, but the things I learned during that bike trip will truly last a lifetime. I am certain that many of his students throughout the years have benefited in a similar way. That truly is a great legacy to leave behind.
Mark Roback
July 22, 2013
My thoughts and prayers are with your family Mr. Gardiner. What a wonderful teacher and a wonderful man. I will never forget getting to know you at Bulkeley. Enjoy your bike rides in heaven!
Lisa Beaudoin
July 22, 2013
Buckley high class of 82 , a great teacher , RIP
john ShumskI
July 22, 2013
Dear, Betsy, Lee and Bill, Many of my childhood memories were made around your island on Pine Acres Dr. I remember crashing my bike many times on the rock at the top of the path, I fondly remember your Father at Ski Sundown when I first started teaching there, helping me out with words of encouragement as a young skier, showing me how on work on my first ten speed that I bought from Bob Amrine.. My God give you peace and comfort in this time of loss... I will share this with my mom, and I know she will send her regards... God Bless you
David Keefe
July 22, 2013
Marvelous teacher AND colleague.

Thanks for the memories. Rest in Peace.
Bulkeley H.S. Alumni Association
July 22, 2013
Sending thoughts and prayers to the Gardiner family. We didn't know Richard well, but we greatly admired his love of life and the outdoors. Your neighbors,

Pete and Jo-Ellen Haggerty
Jo-Ellen Gasior-Haggerty
July 22, 2013
Amazing person were a
major influence in my life..
thank you MR Gardiner...
George Winter
July 22, 2013
Mentor, friend, inspiration, you are deeply missed, gone too suddenly even to say good-bye. Thank you for your friendship, your advice and guidance, your unfailing passion for the Great Outdoors in general, and the Ski Patrol specifically. Your commitment to the Patrol is a legacy which will be long remembered. My sincere condolences to Betsy, and to your entire family. Richard and Beverly Dillon
Beverly Dillon
July 22, 2013
I love you and will miss you deeply. your neice, Christine
July 22, 2013
I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Gardiner Family. I was a student of Mr. Gardiner at BHS in 1982. Despite the many years that have gone by since then, I can still remember his passion for Earth Science and his amazing method of teaching. May you find peace in the memories that you shared with him throughout the years. I feel Blessed to have known him.
Lizaida Rivera Collazo
July 22, 2013
Rest Well, Dear Friend. You were an amazing teacher of ski patrol skills but more so an outstanding mentor to all. You will be sorely missed by Ski Sundown Patrollers who had the pleasure of your company for many years. Again, Rest Well Dear Friend!
Lorraine Ratkiewich
July 22, 2013
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