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1924 William 2015

William Gardner

September 17, 1924 — November 13, 2015

William Ansel Gardner Jr., "Cowboy Bill Gardner", 91 passed away November 13, 2015 in Wickenburg, AZ. Bill was born in Los Angeles, CA. September 24, 1924 while his father was a pilot in the Air Force. He moved back to Berino, New Mexico, where his Dad started a 600 acre farm and dairy. His Dad lost everything during the depression. They moved to Nutt, New Mexico where his Dad built up a ranch of 36 sections known as the Diamond Cross Ranch, where Bill learned his trade as a cowboy. While growing up on the ranch, he started rodeo-ing as a kid, and was very good, winning several championships. He married at a young age (17). He married Carol Reynolds and had 4 children, Roy Stan, K'Lyn, B'Ann and Shari. He bought a ranch north of Deming, New Mexico and worked hard on it. Soon after he and his cousin Bob Gardner went to Blythe, CA and bought 80 acres and Bob 90 and leased another 200 acres to grow hay and cotton. He also built a 600 herd feedlot by himself. He attended auctioneering school in Indiana. He did a lot of auctioning for the 4-H and FFA sales. He also called square dancing. He was the best caller in the south region from El Paso, TX to Southern California. Things kinda went south in Blythe, he divorced and sold the farm and came to Wickenburg in 1957. He was friends with Dave & Gloria Underdown, he went to work for Dave at the Cement Plant and soon after at Wickenburg Lumber. A few years later he worked at Slash Bar K, raising a few cattle at the ranch while working there. Not to long after he would travel to Wickenburg to go to the barn dance at Bowman's Barn, where he met and fell in love with Nelda Bowman. They were married on October 15, 1960 and just celebrated their 55th anniversary. Bill soon met Bill Cress who needed a cowboy out in Aguila, where he was building a feedlot, which ran up to 300 head of cattle and 300 outside cows. He worked and managed the feedlot for over 20 years. Bill did many things and was pretty darn good at doing all of them, from cowboy-ing, to calling square dance, auctioneering, to becoming a car salesman at Jones Ford. He was really active in the community with running the Dance for Gold Rush Days, He was involved with DC Ride as assistant head wrangler for 15 years and then as the head wrangler for another 18 years for a total of 50 years on the Ride. Bill was the first president of the Wickenburg Sheriff's Posse, the president of the Wickenburg Roping Club and director of the Arizona Junior Rodeo Association. He still worked cattle until about 5 years ago out at Date Creek. Bill is survived by his wife of 55 years, Nelda Bowman Gardner, daughters: K'Lyn (Dutch) Grogan, B'Ann Spurgeon, Shari (Lamont) Lacy, Billy Dee Gardner and Tyson Gardner, brother David Gardner of Alton Missouri, 11 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids. Bill was preceded in death by his father William Ansel Gardner, Sr. and mother Gertrude Gardner, son & daughter in law Roy and Debbie Gardner, sisters Evelyn Cox, Flora Mae Clark, and Vida Marie Voiers. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 11:00 AM at the Wickenburg Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with visitation 1 hour prior at the Church and interment to follow at the Wickenburg Municipal Cemetery.
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