Memorial services for Thomas “Tom” Gartner, 70, Lawrence will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 26, 2013, in the First Christian Church located at 1000 Kentucky Street in Lawrence, KS. He passed away at his home on Monday, January 21, 2013.
Born in Lincoln, NE on September 29, 1942, he attended high school at Lincoln Northeast High School and the University of Nebraska.
He was married to Vanna Meyn on March 14, 1964 in Lincoln, NE. She survives of the home. Other survivors include cousins, Jane Eastman, Suzanne Sipp, Sally Borner, Mary Diesen, Nancy Shanahan, Terry Gartner, Don Gartner, Jr., Cindy George, and Dennis Gartner. He is also survived by four brothers-in-law, five sisters-in-law, ten nieces and nephews and six great nieces and nephews.
Tom was preceded in death by an infant sister, Patsy Kay Alberding, his parents, Ray Alberding and Dorothy Gartner, and grandparents, H.W. and Bertha Gartner. Also preceding him in death were aunts and uncles who meant so much to him: Betty and Paul Stein, Don and Viola Gartner, and Harry and Lucille Gartner.
As a child, Tom developed an interest in trains and took many trips on the train to visit family in McCook, NE. The interest became a lifelong hobby and he never visited a new town without finding the area of railroad access. He was especially delighted if there were an old depot or museum to explore.
A childhood illness requiring him to remain in bed gave him the opportunity to learn how to operate marionettes and he grew proficient enough to provide puppet shows for birthdays and other celebrations. He also volunteered shows for the Orthopedic Hospital for Children in Lincoln and at the St. Thomas Orphanage. He loved music and sang for several years with the Back to the Bible Broadcast Children’s Choir on the radio.
In his teen and young adult years, Tom learned to water ski and was a member of the Capitol Water Ski Club in his West ‘O’ Street neighborhood in Lincoln. Later he formed and directed Capitol Water Ski Shows and the ski team performed during summers in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Another interest for Tom was airplanes. He was a private pilot and enjoyed flying single engine aircraft. When on a sales award trip to Europe during the early 1970s, on board a new 747 aircraft that was a chartered flight, the pilot invited Tom to sit in the captain’s chair and operate the controls to change altitudes. What a thrill that was for him and he loved to tell about that experience. Just as he liked to tour depots, he never visited a town that he didn’t look for the airport or the landing strip if that was all the area afforded.
Tom’s career path was always centered on sales. Under his leadership, the family business of Gartner Mobile Homes was the recipient of many awards for top sales. He later became a real estate broker and enjoyed selling commercial real estate. After moving to Texas he continued selling mobile and modular homes and real estate until his retirement.
Tom will best be remembered as a man who loved his family. He “never met a stranger”, and was always friendly and outgoing. He had a great love for animals and helped to rescue and rehabilitate a number of injured animals. Three dogs, Rocky, George & Gracie will miss their daily rides in the car with him. Tom leaves behind friends of all ages and from all walks of life. He will be greatly missed by all his family and friends.
The family suggests memorials in his name to the Tom Gartner Memorial Fund and may be sent in care of the Warren-McElwain Mortuary.