ALTONA — Lester "Pete" Gardner, 82, of Altona, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, at Heritage Commons in conderoga with his loving family by his side.
He was born in Altona on March 11, 1931, the son of Edward and Melvina (Duquette) Gardner.
He married the love of his life, Virginia Ruth Gardner at St. John's Church in Lake Clear on Feb. 28, 1953. Pete was a parishioner of Holy Angels Church in Altona. Pete was a master farmer. He was raised on his family's dairy farm. When his parents retired he also retired from his job as a postal mail carrier and took over ownership of the Gardner farmstead. After retiring from his own farm, Pete became the farm manager at the Clinton Correctional Facility dairy farm. After working and providing for his family for over 40 years Pete retired from the State in 1993.
Pete was an avid logger, woodsman, hunter, fisherman and mechanic. He worked on small machines, cars, trucks, farm machinery and assisted family, friends and neighbors with his skills. For years he enjoyed bowling with a crew of his Altona buddies and also bowled in a mixed league with his wife and their Altona friends. Prior to his retirement he was a volunteer for the Altona FD. He had pride in his hometown, family and friends. He loved playing poker with his buddies; but pinochle was his passion and pastime with family and friends. Pinochle was "the family game" and all family members learned to play at a very young age.
He was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather serving as a great role model for his daughters and sons. He and his wife enjoyed spending their winter months in Florida. He was head over heels in love with his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Always adoring them with hugs, kisses and his infectious smile till the very end.