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 www.vincentfuneralhome.com for online condolences.