Marge R. Gardiner, age 92, of Pine River, passed away in her sleep early Sunday morning, July 21, at the Good Samaritan Society in Pine River. She was born on Christmas Day, 1920, in her grandparents’ home, formerly located behind Gardiner’s Hardware, to Ernest and Sadie (Cromett) Robideau. Her parents owned the first bakery/restaurant in Pine River.
She was always a strong supporter of Pine River and was proud to have completed 12 years in the Pine River Schools, never missing a day. During high school she worked at the Marlow Theater and upon graduation, earned a business degree from the Minneapolis School of Business. She then returned to Pine River and first worked as a secretary for the J. Anderson Lumber Co. and then in the office of the high school.
In 1935, Paul Gardiner and parents moved from Brainerd to purchase a small Gambles store and the start of a romance that lasted 69 years began to evolve. He was asked by his Brainerd friends if there were any good looking girls and his answer was always the same: two--one too old, the other too young. 70 years ago the young one got older and they married on Jan 14, 1943. They then built a home on the river in town and lived there until their deaths.
Marge was an active member of the Methodist Church and was a choir member, taught Sunday school, was on the church board, and for a long time, kept the financial books. She was instrumental in starting the first Girl Scout troop in Pine River and was a leader for 7 years. She had one child, Gary, and stayed at home during his early years. With time she was going in evenings to help in the business, which eventually lead to 45 years working at Gardiner Hardware. They sold the store to their son in 1992 but Marge was still a regular fixture for another 10 plus years. She loved to socialize and especially enjoyed spring with the return of the people to the lakes. While she prided herself on managing the toy area she was always seen with a dust rag in her hand.
Marge is survived by her son, Gary (Janice) of Pine River; grandson, Sean (Susan) and 3 great granddaughters, Synclair, Sayge, and Scotlyn of El Dorado, Kansas; her sister, Joyce Garza (Jessie) of Brownsville, Texas; 2 stepbrothers: Phil Robideau of Arizona, Dale Robideau of Olivia, MN; and sister-in-law, Mody Gardiner of Pine River.
She was preceeded in death by her parents; husband, Paul; sister-in-law, Della Kater; and brother-in-law, Kenneth Gardiner.
A memorial service is planned for 2 PM on Tuesday, July 30, at the Pine River Methodist Church with a time to share memories one hour prior to the service. The family has requested no memorials to the family, but that memorials be in the form of donation to the Pine River Food Shelf (PO Box 1, Pine River, MN 56474) or Pine River Fire Department (PO Box 444, Pine River, MN 56474).