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PEKIN ~ Gary Dean Gardner, 83, of Pekin, passed away at 1:50 a.m. Saturday, January 12, 2019 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

Born March 17, 1935 in Peoria Heights, to Curtis and Idella (Gauf) Gardner, he married the love of his life Virginia (Whitaker) Gardner on March 17, 1956 in Peoria. She survives

Surviving are his three children, Cindy (Matt) Plahuta, Kim (Ed) Whitaker, and David (Kim) Gardner. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Jamie (Marlene) Mardis, Kara (Kevin) Landry, Nicklaus (Jamie) Whitaker, Samantha (Ben) Sparks, Seth Gardner and four great grandchildren, Lucas, Parker, Eva, and Toni. His parents preceded him in death.

Gary worked for over 45 years at Caterpillar, retiring in 1997. He first started as a sweeper when he was 17, he then moved up to foreman, general foreman, and finished his service there as a buyer. When Gary retired, he and his wife moved to Cleremont Florida in 1997 they then moved to Crossville Tennessee in 2003 and returned full circle moving back to Pekin in 2015.

Gary loved to play cards and golf, especially at Sunset Golf Club and at Fairfield Glade in Crossville Tennessee, harassing all of his opponents on the way.

A celebration of life will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, February 9, 2019 at Pekin Country Club, 310 Country Club Dr. in Pekin. Cremation has been accorded by Preston Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin

Memorial contributions may be given to Northern Tazewell Volunteer Fire Department, where he volunteered for many years, 2445 Washington Rd., Washington, IL 61571.

To express condolences online, visit www.preston-hanley.com