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