PAXTON — Martin Michael “Mike” Gardner, 69, died peacefully at his home in Paxton on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020.
A funeral mass will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Gibson City with Father Don Van Bui officiating. Burial with military honors will take place at Drummer Township Cemetery in Gibson City. A wake service will be at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Rosenbaum Funeral Home in Gibson City, followed by a rosary at 4:30 p.m. and then visitation from 5 to 8 p.m.
Mr. Gardner was born Oct. 18, 1950, in Bloomington, a son of Martin Eugene Gardner and Frances Mae Johnson Gardner. He married Laurie J. Persons on May 11, 1974, in Gibson City. They were married for 45 years.
Surviving are his wife, Laurie Gardner of Paxton; his mother, Mae Gardner of Gibson City; a daughter, Lucie (James) Mills of Paxton; nine grandchildren, Marinna (Jon) Taylor, Bryce Ogburn, Gavin Ogburn, Taylor (Nolan) Hamblin, Aaron Gardner, Alice Mills, Amelia Mills, Christopher Ogburn and Damion Cooley; four great-grandchildren, Jacob Taylor, Joseph Taylor, Miranda Taylor and Aiden Jimenez; five siblings, Linda (Lloyd) Case of Kentucky, Tim (Pam) Gardner of Gibson City, Greg (Peg) Gardner of Danvers, Pat Gardner of Nebraska and Sean (Sherri) Gardner of Gibson City; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father; a son, Marty; a brother, Geary; and an infant brother.
Mr. Gardner proudly served his country and was an Army veteran. He was a diesel mechanic for 26 years working for JM Jones/Super Valu as well as owning his own small engine repair shop in Gibson City. He was proud to be a Paxton-Buckley-Loda school bus driver for the last nine years. He loved his precious passengers as his own. He was also a Boy Scout master for 28 years. He loved spending time with his family and adored his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Memorial contributions may be made to Boy Scout Troop #32 or to the Mike Gardner family.