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Our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and sister, passed away peacefully in her home in Salt Lake City on April 2, 2020.
She was born the second of four children in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Ralph William Evans and Emeline Blair on May 30, 1937, but grew up in Shiprock, New Mexico, at her family’s trading post near the Navajo Reservation. When she was 11 years old, her family moved back to Salt Lake City. She was a graduate of South High School.
She married the man she loved dearly, John Nelson Gardner, on August 30, 1957 in the Salt Lake Temple. They raised their young family near Santa Cruz, California where Mother fell in love with the ocean. Her “happy spot” was Rio Del Mar Beach in Aptos, California, where she would go whenever she needed to renew her spirit.
Being an accomplished stenographer and typist, and having a gift for organization, mother thoroughly enjoyed her work as the personal secretary to Chancellor Dean McHenry of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Amazingly, she knew how to spell every word and could type and carry on a conversation at the same time.
She modeled prior to marrying, and shared that talent with local youth groups in fashion shows and with the Miss California Beauty Pageant. Her children remember her waking early every morning to make hot breakfasts for them before they went to their before-school seminary classes. After twenty years, Mother and dad relocated back to Salt Lake City in 1982 to be close to family.
She loved meeting and entertaining her children’s friends, and enjoyed talking with anyone regardless of race, origin, or social status. Mother found ways to express her inner creativity with ceramics, knitting, gardening, and running a flower shop.
Later in life, she and dad enjoyed traveling to visit their children and grandchildren, stopping at every rock shop along the way. Her children, having grown up to enjoy college and professional football, would often enjoy her unbridled enthusiasm as we watched our favorite teams play in her TV room.
Mother’s hallmark characteristics were those of nurturing and empathy. She always befriended and supported those who needed extra care and attention. She was ever kind and generous and loving—seldom judgmental. Her Salt Lake City home was a safe harbor for her family members. We will miss that unconditional love and acceptance that we so genuinely felt with each visit.
Mother is preceded in death by her husband John; sister Jean; and granddaughter Kyra. She is survived by her sister Annette; brother Blair; and her five children, Paul (Cindy), Susan (David), Bryan, Lisa, and Traci (Rahl); 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.
In response to the current social distancing guidelines, a small family graveside gathering and interment will be held at Wasatch Lawn Cemetery on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
To send a flower arrangement or to plant trees in memory of Lueen Evans Gardner, please click here to visit our Sympathy Store.
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