Bill O. Gardner, 84, died Wednesday, December 15, 2010 surrounded by his loved ones. Bill was born May 18, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. He attended Los Angeles Polytechnic High School, class of Summer 1943. Just prior to graduation he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He trained in Biloxi, Mississippi and was discharged in November of 1945. Bill returned to Los Angeles and attended Metropolitan High School to receive his high school diploma. He worked as a cabinet maker at Lockheed Aircraft where he worked installing cabinets on their Constellation airplanes.
One of Bill’s passions in life was high school football. In the mid-1960s, Bill met Florene Nickell at a Crescenta Valley High School football game. He admired her that evening for sitting in the rain for the whole game as she watched her son play football. Bill and Florene were married in February of 1971.
Shortly after the 1971 earthquake, Bill went to work for a wholesale hardware supplier, covering Central California. Because of the extent of his territory, he and Florene moved to Vacaville, California where Bill eventually retired. During this period of time, they adopted and raised Florene’s grand-daughters Sarah and Amber, the children of Florene’s deceased daughter, Teresa. Bill and Florene were avid high school boosters, attending football and basketball games, as well as supporting the girls’ choirs and swimming teams.
After Sarah graduated in 1996 and Amber graduated in 2002, Bill and Florene returned to Southern California, buying a retirement home in Camarillo, California. There in Leisure Village, they again became active in the community joining the RV Club and making many trips with their new friends.
Bill is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Florene Gardner; his daughters Laurie Contreras (George) of Camarillo; and Gayle Hicks (David) of Santa Ana; sister Maxine Gorrie; 1 step-daughter-in-law, 15 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild; as well as four nieces and many, many friends.
Bill is preceded in death by his step-children, Charles Nickell, Gary Nickell and Teresa Nickell, as well as his step-grandchildren Bradley Nickell and Trent Nickell.
Bill was always the ‘go-to’ guy, whether it was making storage cabinets for the high school, filming athletic events or repairing something. He was a man you could count on to give you good advice, instruction, and his opinion. He will be greatly missed by many.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 1:00 pm at the Griffin Family Funeral Chapel, 1075 E. Daily Dr., Camarillo, 93010, (805) 482-1166.
Condolences may be left at www.TedMayrFuneralHome.com