It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that her family and husband Bob Gardner, announce the passing of Joy Gardner, a lifelong resident of Chewelah, WA who died July 6, 2017 after a brief but brave battle with cancer.
Joy was born in 1937 to Louie and Grace Burya (Doyle). She was the oldest of three children, her sister Sharon (Husfloen husband Barry), and brother Newell. Newell pre deceased Joy and leaves behind his wife Janice. Later when Grace married Stan Doyle, she gave birth to daughter Sally (Paramore husband Ben).
Joy was also pre deceased by her grandson Troy Bauman, and son-in-law George Voile. Joy is survived by her daughters, Cindy Lesamiz (John), Cherie Lindstrom (Pete), Bobbi Jo Chambers (Barney), and her step daughters, Debbie Voile, Doreen Hogan (Keith), Lynnette Bauman (Gene), and 10 grand children, and 17 great grand children.
After graduating from Chewelah High School Joy married Gail McCullough, and followed his Air Force career to Africa, Montana, and Alaska. It was in Montana that her daughters Cindy and Cherie were born, but Joy’s heart was always in Chewelah and she longed to come home.
In 1968 she returned to Chewelah and met Bob Gardner. They married and had daughter Bobbi Jo. Bob rounded out the family with his three daughters Debbie, Doreen, and Lynnette. Joy was proud of all 6 girls, and loved them dearly.
Joy and Bob started out together without much but a lot of dreams and a work ethic that never stopped. Life was hard but it did not take them long to build two successful businesses. Gardner Logging and Trucking and Gardner’s Mobile Home Court. Joy was a true business woman. She was tough and called a spade a spade, but her hand shake was her word. Once at the Inter Mountain Logging Conference, having a cold beer with Bob and Ed Day, from Triad Machinery, she bought a very expensive log loader on a hand shake. Ed paid for the beer.
Her business life lead her to be involved and support the Washington Contract Loggers Association, and the Chewelah Chamber of Commerce.
One of her favorite events was the annual Chamber Dinner and Auction. Joy would donate her famous apple and huckleberry pies and Elk Camp dinners. But when it came to an item in the auction that she wanted, there was no stopping her when the bidding began.
Her love of Chewelah never ended, she donated and supported so many causes that they cannot all be counted. Joy was a true icon of Chewelah and was selected with Bob as the Chewelah Honored Citizens of the Year in 2009.
Taking a break from the cold Chewelah winters Joy and Bob often retreated to Hawaii and Mexico. She loved the sunshine and fun times on vacation and was often joined by family and friends.
Bob and Joy shared a passion for fishing and boating. They had wonderful trips on their boats on the Columbia River, even up the river into Canada. They also spent a lot of time in the San Juan Islands. Bob named three of their favorite boats after her. They were “My Joy Too,” “My Second Joy,” and “My Pride and Joy.”
Joy will also be remembered for her cooking and canning. Her kitchen was always full of wonderful smells. Weather it was an elk roast in the oven, spaghetti and meatballs in the crock pot, or her amazing potato salad and baked beans. A few years back, after she no longer went to the mountains elk hunting, Bob and Joy set up a hunting tent not far from the house, complete with a wood burning stove. It was immediately named “Elk Camp.” There they hosted too many parties and dinners to count. Joy had a fun saying for a friend or family member when she was having a good time. Usually after her favorite drink, “A Montana Dirty Ditch,” she would nick name one lucky person “you’re number 1,” and from then on that’s what she called you. Needless to say there soon became a lot of #1’s.
Joy was a very patriotic person and loved our country as much as she loved Chewelah. There was never a time at her home, The Ebony Mule Ranch, that an American flag was not flying. Her favorite color was red, and she will be fondly remembered for driving around town in her red Avalanche pick up, wearing her red Chewelah or Gonzaga sweatshirts, and every summer planting red geraniums around the house and her favorite flowers, red roses.
Joy was a Life Member of the Rocky Mountain Elk foundation. She attended many national banquets but her favorite was the Colville chapter dinner and auction. It was always held in January and often fell on her birthday. She would again donate her famous homemade huckleberry pies that would sell for upwards of a thousand dollars. And when it came to bidding on other items, you better watch out. For nearly 15 years in a row she would win the official RMEF BB gun with the highest bid.
Joy loved all animals. In addition to her horses and mules she had a favorite Schnauzer dog named Jiggs, two Welsh Corgi dogs named Thelma and Louise and more cats than anyone can remember. One spring, a stray cat snuck into the house without anyone seeing it. It was later found up stairs with 6 kittens. She kept them all.
Joy loved the mountains and the outdoors. Elk hunting with Bob in Idaho in the fall was something she looked forward to all year. She would pull the pack string of mules riding her big black Morgan horse Sky. Joy was very short and Sky was very tall. Joy taught Sky to stretch out by saying Feet! Feet! That big horse would spread out and Joy could easily put her foot in the stirrup and up she would go. For years she lead those pack strings into the St Joe, Snow Creek and Selway Mountains.
Her passion for horses and mules began as a little girl in 1950 riding bareback on her horse Blaze with her little sister Sharon riding Petty Bone. Later on she had a little white Arabian horse named Kim. For years in the winter she would hitch Kim to her sleigh and bring Santa to town to light the Christmas tree and kick off the holidays. She loved to put her sleigh bells on the harness and drive Kim all over town. You could hear those bells ringing blocks away.
After her mountain horse Sky passed she started thinking about getting a saddle mule of her own. Guess where she found him? She and Bob were at mule sale in Wyoming, and out of the hundreds of mules for sale she had her eye on a beautiful grey mule named Paydirt. When the owner of Paydirt road him into the center of the sale ring, stood up on the mule’s back, pulled out his banjo and started to play, the bidding took off with a flurry. There was no stopping Joy.
Needless to say Paydirt came home to Chewelah.
Joy Gardner will surely be missed.
To remember Joy, donations can be made to her favorite groups, The Chewelah Chamber of Commerce, and the Colville Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Please join Joy’s family for a celebration in her honor Thursday, July 13 at 10 a.m. at the Melody Riders Saddle Club Arena, south of Chewelah on Highway 395. Joy will be laid to rest at the Chewelah Memorial Cemetery. Lunch will follow under the tents back at the Melody Riders Arena.
Please visit the online memorial and sign the guestbook
chapel.com. Danekas Funeral Chapel is entrusted with the arrangements.