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Paul Melvin Gardner

July 7, 1932 ~ February 4, 2019 (age 86)

PAUL MELVIN GERALD GARDNER was born July 7, 1932 in Wolf Point, Montana to Jesse and Josephine (Linguist) Gardner. His parents moved to Kila, Montana where he started school and later the family moved to Kalispell where he completed high school at Flathead High in 1950. During those years he filled his extra time with delivering "The Daily Interlake" newspaper, keeping his 1940 Chevy pickup running, taking his horse swimming in Flathead Lake, and doing odd jobs for neighbors. Paul worked one summer on the Hungry House Dam Project. He also did some logging with his cousin, Jack Cave, and delivered heating oil for Union 76 Oil.

Paul professed his belief in God at the age of 15 and continued to serve Him throughout his life.

On May 23, 1955 he married his wife of 63 years, Mertie Ann Dykstra. They lived in Kalispell for three years then moved to Rexford where they lived until his death.

Paul was a self-employed logger before he spent a number of years clearing the reservoir area while the Libby Dam was being built.

In the process of relocating the residents of old Rexford, it was deemed necessary to incorporate the town. Paul served as a member of the first town council and continued to serve his community for a number of years. He also moved several buildings from the reservoir area, including his own home.

Paul then went to work for the Montana Highway Department, retiring in 1994. He spent his last years getting firewood for himself, and many friends and neighbors.

Paul passed away peacefully at his home on February 4, 2019 with his wife and family by his side. He is preceded in death by his daughter Ruby Ann, parents, brothers Henry (Glenda), Homer (Jean), Omer and Dallas (Clara). His sisters

Marie  Kikendall, Cora  Simonson, Edith (Norm) Zemolisky, Lois (Arnie) Marsh, and Rosemary (Hank) Swanson.

His is survived by his wife Mertie Ann (Dykstra), sons Gerald (Wendy), David (Martha) and Neil (Tabatha). Daughters Arlene Welcher, Ruth (Darrel) Benjamin, ElaRae (Tony) Wilkes and Elsie Ann Gardner, brother Dale (Mimi) and sister in law Joan, 19 Grandchildren and 15 Great Grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at 11 am on Saturday February 16, 2019 at the Eureka High School Auditorium with a viewing one hour prior to service. Burial will follow at the Tobacco Valley Cemetery. Friends and family are encouraged to visit our website at to leave notes of condolences. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.

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