Clifford E. Gardner 1927 - 2022

Clifford Elmer Gardner passed away December 17, 2022, in McMinnville, Oregon. He was 95 years old. Clifford was born May 13, 1927, in Rainier, Oregon, the oldest of three sons of John E. and Anna A. (Chouinard) Gardner. He enjoyed growing up adventuring along the Columbia River. At 17, he joined the Navy and was deployed in the South Pacific during WWII on the USS Mustin. Upon returning, he graduated from Rainier High School and in 1947 moved to Sitka, Alaska, to become a commercial fisherman. On February 23, 1952, after knowing each other only two months, Clifford eloped with his life-long love Joyce (Fink) in Kalama, Washington. The couple then moved to Hoonah, Alaska. Later in 1952, they welcomed a son, Patrick. Daughter Christy was born in 1955, son Stanley in 1956, and daughter Cheryle joined them in 1957.

Clifford worked as a commercial fisherman outside Hoonah and went on to own a logging operation with his brother, Clayton, in Salt Chuck, Alaska, in 1954. He was the first logger in the Ketchikan area to receive a timber contract with Ketchikan Pulp Mill. As his children began school, and to be closer to family, he and Joyce purchased a 93-acre farm and began to grow various row crops along the Yamhill River in Yamhill, Oregon. After leaving, they moved to Astoria, Oregon, where Clifford worked in commercial timber falling and thinning while also obtaining his pilot's/captain's license to navigate the Columbia River. His call to Alaska returned in 1980 when he began a pre-commercial timber thinning business with his two sons and son-in-law, Steve, in Southeast Alaska. When an opportunity arose in 1984 to purchase property in Meyers Chuck, he jumped into the world of sport fishing guide for 20+ years, owning and operating Meyers Chuck Lodge.

Throughout his life, Clifford enjoyed growing roses, lilacs and his beloved lemon tree. He was an avid rummager at garage sales and enjoyed annual trips with Joyce to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Clifford was a lifelong learner who loved reading, an adventurer who never encountered a problem he couldn’t find the answer to. He was a quiet, caring and thoughtful person who enjoyed a good party. He had a great smile, laugh, and was a friend to everyone he met. Most of all, he loved spending time with his partner in all things Joyce and their family.

Clifford was preceded in death by both parents; his brother, Ralph Gardner; and granddaughter, Amy Gardner. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Joyce Gardner; his brother, Clayton Gardner; his four children, Patrick (Janette) Gardner of McMinnville, Christy (Richard) Cloepfil of Carlton, Oregon, Stanley Gardner of Spokane, Washington, and Cheryl Johnson of Craig, Alaska; 10 grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be announced at a later time.

Contributions can be made in his name to McMinnville Meals-on-Wheels or Friends of the Library, Ketchikan. To leave condolences, visit


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