Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

John Whorton Gardner, Jr.


April 11, 2019

John Whorton Gardner, Jr., 76, passed away on April 5, 2019.

John was born in Wichita, Kan., on March 29, 1943, to John W. Gardner Sr. And Margot Katz Gardner. He grew up in Casper, Wyo., the oldest of four siblings. He served his country from 1957 to 1961 in the United States Navy. Here he discovered his love for the sport of boxing and even became a lightweight golden glove boxer. Sometime after his discharge, John met Shirley Kaye Varilek at a dance in Casper. The couple was married on November 14, 1969.

He began college at Northwest Community College from 1968 to 1969, where he studied graphic art and photography. He worked for a newspaper and as a surveyor for a time. Later he was employed for Reda Pump Well Service, where he was employed for several years. John worked hard to provide for his wife and five children throughout his life. He later retired from BHE at 65 years old.

John was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was sealed to his wife, Shirley, on August 24, 1996, in the Idaho Falls Temple. John and Shirley were very active in their church. John was very involved in the lives of his grandchildren lending a major hand in their upbringing. He was a talented artist and photographer. He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, fishing, camping, horse-back riding, nature watching and gardening. He passed many of his skills on to his children and grandchildren instilling a deep respect for nature and the outdoors in each of them. John loved his family and was in turn loved very much by them.

John is survived by his children, Calvin McCann, Pamela (Greg Scott) Snyder, Mur-Ray Mirielle (Ray) Nitchman, and Jodie (Kenneth) Nading; several grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and siblings Keith Gardner and Christine Gardner.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Gardner; late wife, Patsy Gardner; parents; son, William Terrence McCann; and brother, Terry Gardner.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, April 12, 2019, at Riverside Cemetery in Thermopolis. Military Honors will follow the graveside services. Online condolences may be made at


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