January 4, 1934 – May 15, 2021
It is with deep sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Elaine Ann Gardner (nee Fichtner) on May 15, 2021. Elaine is survived by her beloved husband of 64 years Keith (Bud) Gardner, her two children Greg (Lila) and Cynthia (Nick) and her five “apple of her eye” grandchildren, Keith and Ethan Gaudry-Gardner and Carson, Spencer and Ava Boyd.
Elaine was born on Jan. 4, 1934 in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan to Emanuel Jacob and Molly (Dallinger) Fichtner. She had six siblings which all have predeceased her. The loss of her youngest brother in WW11 made her an outspoken critic of war and violence.
At a young age she was afflicted with polio which she overcame through perseverance and the support of her family. She spent one year in the Winnipeg hospital where her mom was able to visit once a week. When she returned home, her mom continued to exercise Elaine’s legs as she attended school in leg braces.
The family moved to Chilliwack, BC where Elaine made valued friendships with her group of strong, independent, vibrant women who remained close their entire lives.
Elaine and her lifelong friend, Fran hitchhiked across Europe at the age of 21, they traveled through 17 countries.
Elaine met Keith (Bud) in Hope, BC when she was the stenographer at the Hope High School.
After Elaine returned from Europe, Bud proposed and they were married in 1957 and started their life together in Hope.
Elaine was an avid volunteer for the community of Hope and helped build many places including the Hope swimming pool, Hope United Church, soup kitchen, CGIT, food banks, homeless shelters, 1967 Centennial Committee, Mt. Hope Senior Citizens’ home and much, much more.
Elaine never lost her love to travel and planned a big trip every two years for her family. She enjoyed planning trips for her and Bud together. She believed the best education was from experiencing the world and other cultures. They especially loved visiting their vacation home in San Carlos, Mexico, where they made many wonderful friends.
Music is the one thing (other than her grandchildren) that gave Elaine the most joy in her life, she was a solo singer and a member of the Hope ladies choir and the Hope United Church choir.
Bud and Elaine loved to dance and would take any opportunity to hit the dance floor. Elaine was passionate in her love of music and the arts including singing in the Hope Ladies Choir and Hope United Church Choir. She was responsible for bringing many talented artists to Hope and sitting on the board of various Arts Councils. She was always planning events at the Hope Curling Club – “skits” for the enjoyment of others. Elaine was the “life of the party”!
Her favourite escape was to her condo in Vancouver. She loved trips to the city with her three girlfriends, dinner out and a show/opera out on the town.
Those close to Elaine will most remember her for her optimism, humor, courage which served her well over the later years of her life. These qualities made her an inspiration to many and she will be sorely missed.
We would like to thank Doctor Grover and all of her wonderful caregivers, especially Elma and Noemi. We were able to care for mom in her final years at home with her caregivers.
A celebration of life will be planned later in the summer.
Donations can be made to the Hope United Church.Obituary
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