Michael "Mike" Paul Gardner, 67, of La Crosse, WI, passed away on Saturday, June 10, 2023. He was born December 13, 1955 to Maynard and Catherine (McCann) Gardner. Mike was raised in La Crosse with three younger siblings: Therisa, Tony, and Jeff. The Gardner kids hung out and played with southside neighborhood friends like Cindy and Kathy Dahl, who lived just one block away. It was inevitable that Mike and Kathy would eventually find romance!
On April 5, 1977, three years after his 1974 Central High School graduation, Mike and Kathy were married. Mike and Kathy spent the next 46 years together providing for their family, caring for their home, raising three children, and attending athletic events. Many, many weekends were spent traveling with Tim, Chris, and Tiffany to support multiple athletic endeavors.
While growing up, Mike learned valuable lessons about work ethic from his Aunt and Uncle in Middleton. He spent numerous summers with Aunt Alice, assisting Uncle Dick Watts on the sod farm. Mike brought this work ethic to La Crosse Footwear (formerly the Rubber Mills) where he was employed for 27 years. When the plant closed in 2001, Mike moved to the Bread & Bun Bakery at Kwik Trip in 2002, where he remained for the next 20 years until his retirement this past December of 2022.
Family and friendships were important to Mike. As the oldest son in the Gardner family, he and Kathy often hosted Christmas, Fourth of July, and other special gatherings. He had a great sense of humor. Mike enjoyed poking wise-cracks and socializing with good company.
Mike was an avid fan of the Wisconsin Badgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Green Bay Packers. He really, really enjoyed golfing, playing ball, and hanging out with his buddies. Using words inspired by Mike's softball friend Todd Alderman, we can imagine God's Team is calling, "C'mon, Mikey G! Did you bring your glove? We're short one player and you're up to bat!"
Mike is survived by his wife Kathryn (Dahl) Gardner; his children Timothy, Christopher, and Tiffany Gardner; his siblings Therisa (Jay) Jamesson, Anthony (Mona) Gardner, and Jeffrey (Narcisa) Gardner; nieces and nephews Damien Jamesson, Anthony (Kelly) Gardner, and Amber Gardner; and great nephew Marshall Gardner. Mike is also survived by his Aunt Alice (Richard) Watts; sister-in-law Cynthia Dahl; and cousins Barry (Pamela) Gardner and Wendy Hunt.
He was preceded in death by his parents Maynard and Catherine Gardner; Uncles Burton and Howard Gardner; and Kathy's parents Ellsworth and Beverly Dahl.
Mike's Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16, 2023, in Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home, 1501 West Ave. South, La Crosse. Family and friends may visit at the funeral home from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2023, and from 10:00 a.m. on Friday, June 16 until the time of services.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to the family are preferred.