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Born: Oct 21, 1924

Date of Passing: Jul 03, 2017

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LAURA ETHEL GARDNER (nee SPARLING) October 21, 1924 - July 3, 2017 Peacefully, with family by her side, Laura Gardner passed away at Grace General Hospital, at the age of 92 years. Laura is survived by her children, Bill (Janine), Anne, and Michael (Lynn); and her grandchildren, Will, Rachael (Daniel), and Leah (Evan) Gardner; Simon (Amy) and Michael (Nikki) Holekamp, and Ben (Cossette) Gardner. Laura was born at 70 Niagara, in 1924, youngest daughter of Fritz and Gratia Sparling. Growing up she developed an interest in anatomy, tutored by her older brother Fred who taught her how to dissect frogs and fillet fish. This led to an interest in a career in medicine but she was talked out of it by Fred, who did not want her to take a position away from a man. She contented herself with dealing effectively with various childhood illnesses of her children, and then consulting with friends at their doctor's visits. Laura married William Cooper Gardner on July 3, 1947 and together they lived an ideal marriage until William's death, November 20, 2003. She made a wonderful home for her children, who treasured the fact that she was always there when they came home from school. Laura loved to organize and entertain, and used her considerable social skills to set up early versions of gala fundraising dinners. She was a major player in the 1967 Pan Am Games and was very proud to take one of the flagpoles from the Games to her cottage in Minaki. Also in 1967, she was in charge of hospitality during the federal leadership campaign of former Manitoba Premier Duff Roblin. Her role was considered so important that she was given a pager (one of the earliest portable communication devices). The lake cottage "Anti-Mat" in Minaki was a central part of her life. With her sister, Lois, she gave her children idyllic summers. She taught generations of kids how to swim, how to waterski, how to fillet fish, in short, how to be lake people. In later years she was the undisputed matriarch of the lake. Laura made and kept legions of friends who knew her for her sense of humour and generosity of spirit. If Laura was your friend, you were lucky indeed and she would always come to the aid of a friend in trouble. She attracted legions of young people with her welcoming spirit and many of them came to regard her as their second mother. Her kindness and compassion knew no bounds... well, perhaps one bound - if you were playing bridge. A memorial service will be held at St. George's Anglican Church, Grosvenor Avenue at Wilton Street, Monday, July 31 at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations would be welcome to St. George's Anglican Church, 168 Wilton Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3M 3C3. "Do not mourn me but celebrate my time with you; to do otherwise would be a crashing bore." Arrangements by Neil Bardal Funeral Centre, 3030 Notre Dame Ave., Winnipeg, MB R3H 1B9.

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jul 08, 2017

Condolences & Memories (3 entries)

  • My mom (Ibbie MacKay/Proctor) was a long-time friend. I met Laura on several occasions, and was privileged to even play bridge with her once. It is hard to see this awesome generation pass...... - Posted by: Pam Proctor (Friend) on: Jul 25, 2017

  • Dear, Anne, Michael and Billy, I have known your Mom for all my life, loved, respected, admired and a little bit fearful...she was a force to be reckoned with! But her honest interest in you and your " goings on" could never be denied. She was a true and great friend of my Mom and Dad, always happy to have party, get together, make some fun.... Caroline and I visited with her, last winter when she was recovering, she was, as always, chatty, welcoming, interested, and informative! I will truly miss her, she always made me feel special,. My thoughts and prayers are with you all... Love, Wendy - Posted by: Wendy Medland (Friend) on: Jul 09, 2017

  • Bill Gardner and family, Please accept our condolences on the loss of your mother and grandmother. Her obituary was very beautifully written demonstrating that she was well loved and an inspiration to all of her family and many friends. We had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Gardner on a couple of occasions and came away thinking how fortunate you were to have a mother like her. You will have many fond memories. Take care. With our sincere sympathy, Wayne and Dawn Byron West Kelowna, BC - Posted by: Wayne and Dawn Byron (friend of Bill) on: Jul 08, 2017

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