Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Russell Keith Gardner, 55

Russell Gardner 55

If you knew this kindhearted wonderful man you were lucky. Russell Keith Gardner, born July16, 1961, departed our realm of existence on January 12, 2017… way too soon. Just to hear his name makes you smile, doesn’t it? His presence surrounded you with his true friendship and his everlasting love.

Russ was funny. He talked too fast, listened to his favorite songs like Dolly’s “Hard Candy Christmas” way to loud, and sang very badly with unabashed joy. He delighted in using his “skills” to fix a car or plumbing for you, cook a meal for a group of friends, or do up a hairdo for you. He was soft hearted. Oh how he loved his dogs, and he was our very own “Dog Whisperer”. Russ loved nature. Whether fishing at his dad’s cabin, planting his roses that he was so proud of, or driving a great big cotton picker for Paige in Rector, he was happy. Russell had some difficult times too. If he thought you needed anything like food or lodging or money, he would be the first one to help without a single question. Russell was a caregiver. When is dad Luther got sick, Russell stepped forward and took complete care of him until the day his father died. Immediately after his father died, his mom Melinda, became ill. Without even a break for a day, Russell was back taking immaculate care of his beloved mother. There were around 7 solid years that Russell spent caring for everyone but himself. His mother’s death hit him very hard. Suddenly he was completely alone, except of course for sweet little fur Princess Miss Fancy Pants. He had been so completely involved with caring for everyone else and now nothing…so he took care of me. What you may not know is that Russell had taken care of me many times. When my Mother was sick in North East Arkansas Russell quit his job to take me home. Another example of nothing being more important than the people he loved. What an amazing soul!

I believe as we progress in life, you choose your family. Russell had a chosen family. Everyone of that chosen group made it to his bedside before his transition so he knew how much he was loved to his last breath. Russell had an even further extended family and friends and you know who you are, Russell loved you beyond death. Russell’s capacity was huge.

I hope today when you read this that you feel his love for you. I warned heaven to open wide. A huge personality is headed that way. We all can’t wait to hear the story of “how much Heaven Wanted ME”.

There will be a life celebration of Russell’s life in on April 29 beginning at 2 pm. More details to follow.

Written by Dana and friends in honor of our beloved friend and brother.

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to A Natural State Funeral Service, 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas, 72076. 501-982-3400


  • Priscilla skarda Posted January 18, 2017 2:32 AM

    No words except. One of the best poepe I havnever know a more kind , hgibing, non judjementel or happy person an oh so many people love him including me with every fiber in my being. Keep em’ laughing my friend. I will never forget you an d certainly won’t stop loving you .

  • Charlene Fread Wingfield. Posted January 18, 2017 9:25 AM

    I lived with Russell during the mid 80s. He was a delight and I will miss his light on earth but know his light is shine down on us from above. I will never not hear Rector without hearing his voice saying “Rector hell like to knocked her damn head off”.

  • Rhonda Cleaves Posted January 18, 2017 9:29 AM

    You described him beautifully. He will be missed by all of us. Thank you for writing it. I smiled through my tears.

  • Melanie Dickinson Gamble Posted January 18, 2017 10:15 AM

    I don’t think I have a single Labor Day memory from the past 25 years (at least) that doesn’t have you in it, Of course our memories turned into HUGE stories! They sure made for some good entertainment. We thought so anyway! I can’t imagine our lives without you! We never knew when you’d fly into town (Rector), but we knew we were in for a lot of fun. RIP my dear friend. Love, Blaze

  • Carol Sayles Posted January 18, 2017 11:34 AM

    I never knew this beautiful person and am saddened by that knowledge. I would have been honored to be included in his circle of friends, receiving his warmth and love. What an extraordinary man. Russ, may you continue to spread your love and join in Heaven. Your light will remain on earth through your friends.

  • Carole stafford kalagian Posted January 18, 2017 2:39 PM

    I’ve known Russell for many many years and yes he was so funny!! I was only 18 when I met his mom and grandma in Kenneth. Had no idea at that time he was a cousin of Jimmie don. We ate a lot of biscuits and gravy together at his grandmas . A free spirit, huge heart, but our shovel story is so funny rIP

  • Tina Spears Posted January 18, 2017 7:33 PM

    Russell was one of kind. A kind soul. He will be miss.

  • Kimberly Williams Posted January 19, 2017 1:35 PM

    Russell was another class of 1981 , we have lost way to many . Russell tomorrow is my daddy’s birthday , please give him a big hug from me in Hesven.. You will be missed!

  • Linda Oliver Burleson Posted January 19, 2017 5:26 PM

    He will be missed

  • holly vines Posted January 19, 2017 7:30 PM

    Russell’s sence of humor was great and he was a big personality. I lost track of him, but I do know he was loved by many people.

  • Frederick Green Posted January 21, 2017 5:37 AM

    I am very sorry for the loss of your beloved, Russell. Please know that Jehovah God is aware of your pain and he cares for you. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4) . I pray that you are able to find comfort in God’s promise of paradise where there will be no more pain and sorrow (Revelation 21:4,5)  and the many wonderful  memories of your beloved becoming a reality in the future  resurrection in paradise.  (Acts 24:15). Please accept my sincere condolences. (

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