ForeverMissed
Former Oregon legislator, renowned attorney, and passionate science author James “Jim” Gardner was known to friends and family as a brilliant but humble man with a boundless sense of humor and a love for building personal connections with others. His professional reputation for excellence was exceeded only by the love and affection held by those closest to him.

Jim was raised in Kansas City, Missouri as the eldest of five siblings (alongside Esther, Ruth Louise, Mary “Dolly”, and John). His lifelong passion for learning led him to study philosophy and theoretical biology as an undergraduate at Yale University. As part of his thesis project for the Scholar of the House program, Jim conducted a series of private interviews with Jean-Paul Sartre in the fall of 1967. Alongside his studies, Jim worked as Feature Editor for Yale Scientific Magazine and interned at the Wall Street Journal.

After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Jim served for three years in a clandestine branch of US Army Intelligence in Germany. There, he developed a lifelong passion for Germany, its language and its food.

Upon returning to civilian life, he entered Yale Law School and earned the position of Article Editor for the Yale Law Journal. After law school, Jim served as a clerk for Judge Alfred T. Goodwin on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and then clerked for Justice Potter Stewart on the United States Supreme Court. During both clerkships, Jim was involved in developing and refining some of the key judicial doctrines surrounding the fields of antitrust law and civil rights.

Following his judicial clerkships, Jim moved permanently to Oregon and immediately sought election as a Democrat to the Oregon State Senate. Jim served in the Senate from 1978 to 1984, where he served as Chairman of the Education Subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Ways and Means and as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Development. Jim was especially proud of his early sponsorship of bills that sought to expand gay and lesbian civil rights in 1979, 1981, and 1983. He was consistently ranked as the outstanding member of the Oregon State Senate in polls conducted by the Oregonian and other newspapers.

Following his time in the Senate, Jim co-founded what would eventually become the lobbying firm of Gardner & Gardner alongside his wife and lifelong partner Lynda. Their small family firm would go on to represent some of the world’s largest multinational corporations and helped promote legislation that accelerated the rise of green technology and expanded job opportunities in Oregon.

Alongside his lobbying practice, Jim co-founded the Conference of World Regions (CWR), a non-profit organizations dedicated to improving international communication and educating elected officials on science- and technology-driven policy issues. Participants in CWR included major organizations such as the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, the US Council of State Governments, and the US Council for International Business. Jim’s passion for these topics grew out of his lifelong love of travel and cultural exchange, and he remained a consummate traveler and explorer even after the dissolution of CWR.

Jim leaves behind a wealth of writings and intellectual contributions, particularly on topics at the intersection of science and philosophy. He wrote his first book, Effective Lobbying in the European Community, in 1991. His first science book, Biocosm, was published in 2003 and was selected in by Amazon.com’s editors as one of the top ten best science books of that year. He published his third book, The Intelligent Universe, in 2007. Features on his books appeared in TIME magazine, US News & World Reports, Harper’s magazine, and National Geographic. Jim was also the author of numerous articles published in the Wall Street Journal, WIRED, World Link, Complexity, the International Journal of Astrobiology, and other prestigious journals. In addition to his own writings, Jim also served as chief freelance book reviewer for the Sunday Oregonian on popular science and technology nonfiction books.

In spite of his lifetime of professional achievements, Jim’s greatest passion was for his family and friends. Jim was inseparable from his wife Lynda, with whom he traveled the world and shared a professional practice for decades. Together, they instilled in their children Rachel and Joe a passion for discovery and exploration and built a wealth of friendships and close associations that helped provide comfort and warm memories during Jim’s final months of illness. Jim died peacefully, surrounded by family members, on the day of his 44th wedding anniversary. He is survived by his wife, children, siblings, and grandchildren Anza and Elio.

A memorial service will be held at a later date, once concerns over the spread of Covid have lessened. Information regarding a memorial will be posted to this site. 

Posted by Donna Petre on April 10, 2022
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time I heard about the amazing Jim Gardner. I was in the office of the Constitutional Law Quarterly at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and Lynda had just finished talking with him on the telephone. I recall her telling me with such excitement, pride and definitely love of this wonderful person she had met. Since Lynda has always been a very serious person, I knew that only someone truly remarkable would be able to capture her heart. And I learned later that Jim Gardner was truly extraordinary in every respect -with his utter brilliance, mixed with such an immense curiosity about everything, his probing analysis of complex issues, his amazing facility for languages and his unmatched zest for life - all combined with such gentleness, warmth and laughter. Although he was always truly, the smartest person in the room, he never made others feel inadequate; he was always so gracious and kind. I remember one particular time together, when we were having dinner together at our house in Mirabel, when Jim told us about his thoughts on meeting Lynda. He told us that on meeting Lynda, he imprinted on her “like a duck” and that after meeting Lynda he knew there would never be anyone else for him. It was for both of them, as the French say, le coup de foudre.
Over the years, it was Dennis and my good fortune to be able to spend so many wonderful times with Lynda and Jim in Portland, Ashland, Italy and France. Our very last evening together was in Moderna at the world’s best restaurant! The Gardners always knew how to enjoy life by finding the best that life could offer! We came away from that dinner, as we did every time we were with them, knowing that this was no ordinary couple, but a truly extraordinary team. By their friendship, our lives have been enriched enormously and we will always owe them both a huge debt of gratitude.
We shall miss Jim always but what a gift of so many happy memories he has left those of us who had the good fortune to have him as a friend. Love to you always Lynda. What a terrific choice you both made so many years ago.  Donna and Dennis
Posted by Anne M on May 26, 2021
From my first meeting with Jim, when he was a 21-year-old Wall Street Journal summer intern (with front page articles in the summer of 1967,) it was crystal clear that Jim was bound for glory. It was also apparent that his extraordinary care for his mother and his siblings marked him apart from many of his careless and carefree classmates at Yale. That was the year that, as Scholar of the House, Jim flew to Paris to interview Jean-Paul Satre.

While most of his college classmates avoided the military draft, the summer of 1968 found Jim in basic training in the United States Army, learning to eat a "meal" in 15 seconds. After his courageous service in Germany, while his law school classmates were free to concentrate on their studies at Yale Law School, Jim was caring for his four younger siblings after their mother's untimely death in 1971, while also racking up an academic record so stellar that it was rewarded by the highest honor accorded recent law graduates, a coveted clerkship at the United States Supreme Court.

His life was only enhanced by his brilliant and loving marriage to the extraordinary Lynda.  In his happy and rewarding later years, Jim continued to write books, represent world-renowned clients and spend his leisure weeks at his and Lynda's glorious villa in the South of France, enjoying the fruits of their labors in a style unimagined by those not fortunate enough to have sampled the wonders of time in timeless Provence.

Some might view Jim's life as epitomized by the title of the 1954 Kingsley Amis novel, "Lucky Jim," but to those who knew him from his youth, there were precious few indicia of luck back then -- except, of course, for his compassion; his love for his family of origin, later extending to the fine family he lovingly created with Lynda; his off-the-charts intelligence, always sheathed in immense modesty; and his exemplary character and moral compass. And...his wonderful sense of humor!

It has been a profound honor and a deep pleasure to have known James Nelson Gardner, and I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed not only in our youth, but continued to do so for the next 54 years. What a blessing his life was to all who knew him. He will live forever in our hearts and minds as an admirable example of all that a great human being can be. No greater man has ever lived than Jim Gardner.

May God bless and grant comfort to Jim's beloved Lynda, as well as to their adored children, Rachel and Joe, and grandchildren, Anza and Elio, and to the sisters and brother he so loved, Dolly, Ruth Louise, Esther, and John -- knowing how much love, joy, tenderness, and beauty they added to Jim's life.

And God bless you, dear Jim, forever and ever.

Posted by gerard maurice et michele on May 24, 2021
 Voici ce que Jim est pour nous :

            Un homme passionné et passionnant
Il cultivait l‘amour de la vie et du bien .
A travers ses conférences et ses livres il communiquait les résultats de ses lectures et de ses recherches sur sa vision de l’homme et de
l ‘ univers , sa joie de vivre , pour s ‘ émerveiller toujours plus sur les mystères de notre monde.
N ‘ ayant pas reçu une formation scientifique poussée il n' en était pas moins très averti de l’état actuel de la science en mathématique
comme en astronomie , de l’ infiniment petit à l’ infiniment grand , recherchant les preuves de l ‘ amélioration de la condition humaine.

          Grand voyageur pour des motifs sociaux , politiques ou commerciaux il nous contait merveilleusement ses voyages grâce
à sa prodigieuse mémoire .

         Soucieux de concilier sa vie professionnelle et sa vie familiale
il courait après le temps. Quand il paraissait endormi , car fatigué , il disait « intéressant cela » et « que pensez vous de... » ; il savait
relancer et animer la conversation sur tous les sujets avec humour.

         Un homme passionnant et étonnant : par ses questions il nous poussait à réfléchir sur des problèmes philosophiques ou
métaphysiques.

        Un homme bon et généreux , fidèle en amitié acceptant de nous consacrer du temps malgré nos défauts et notre ignorance.

                    Une nuit de 1987 nous avons été réveillés à deux heures du matin par un appel téléphonique nous sollicitant pour un
échange de maisons à Portland Oregon. Nous avons répondu : « mais où est l Oregon ? »
      Depuis cette fameuse nuit nous nous sommes rencontrés presque chaque année soit aux U S. A soit en France.
            Au nom de cette longue et solide amitié nous te présentons à toi Lynda et à tes enfants toutes nos condoléances.

                                             Très affectueusement.

                                                        Maurice et Michèle.
Posted by Geoff Dalgas on May 12, 2021
What can I say about my Uncle that hasn't already been said. Reading all of the tributes to his life is awe inspiring. Now that I think about it, that's what I loved the most about Jimmy, his ability to inspire awe. He warmed the room with his booming laugh, he gave smiles freely, he thought about the things you said and didn't just brush them off, and he loved his family. I have memories reaching as far back as I can remember of Jimmy even though we didn't visit nearly as often as we should. I'm sorry that I won't be able to change that fact now - but I can still live with his memory strong in my mind and live my life in a way that he might respect. Full of passion, full of life, and full of laughter. I respect you highly Uncle Jimmy!
Posted by Margaret Pigeon on April 29, 2021
Jim was a kind, caring,loving, happy person.He had the ability to put people at ease from the first moment you met him. Jim was always open, humorous and welcoming. We would always look forward to Jim & Lynda arriving here in Cairanne, France knowing that we would have many lively dinners, stimulating conversations and fun times together. Jim will be sorely missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Lynda and the family at this very difficult time. Margaret & Peter Pigeon.
Posted by RICHARD BOTTERI on April 27, 2021
Jim was an excellent lawyer and a great Democrat. I went door-to-door for him during his campaign for the senate. A great loss.
Posted by Michael Dotten on April 27, 2021
I remember Jim as a brilliant and kind lawyer, a legislator who realized that one didn't have to surrender principles in order to compromise, leading to inevitable progress on social and governmental issues. Many lawyers and lawmakers could learn from Jim's legacy.
Posted by jerard weigler on April 25, 2021
 A fine legal mind and an ebullient personality!!

 He was a cheerful, brilliant man with a quick laugh.
 A great pleasure to practice law with him and to exchange
 analytical ideas on complex issues but always see the humor.
 He was courteous professional and much fun to work with and also
  socialize.. He will be greatly missed

(The crib photo is a genius selection in which he'd have been delighted.)

 
Posted by Dianne Danowski Smith on April 25, 2021
Andrew and I are absolutely devastated to learn of Jim's passing. He was absolutely always the smartest guy in the room and generally pretty humble about it. We treasured our dinners and wine tasting with him and Lynda, and our trips to France, even getting to stay with them at their house in Provence, where we've been many times since. Their firm and mine shared clients so getting to work with him and Lynda on advocacy issues was where I learned so much. We can't imagine a world without Jim. Our prayers are with you Lynda, Rachel and Joe and the rest of the family. Godspeed to you. We hope there will be an in-person memorial. XXOOO
Posted by Rex Armstrong on April 25, 2021
Leslie and I are profoundly saddened to learn of Jim’s death. He was a remarkable and wonderful human being who contributed much to the lives of the people who knew him and to the greater community. He is greatly missed. Our love to Lynda and family.
Posted by Arlene Lord on April 25, 2021
I am so sorry to learn of Jim’s passing. I always looked forward to his sweet smile and easy laugh. I count myself among the lucky that go to know him. All my love to you, Lynda, and to the rest of your family. 
Posted by Bruce Bishop on April 23, 2021
Jim was truly the only renaissance man I ever had the privilege to know, work with, and learn from. His tolerance for us “mere mortals” was remarkable, and he was also fun to be around. 

As Salem lobbyists, we worked together on landmark health care legislation, including Oregon’s Death With Dignity, Genetic Privacy, and Clinical Research laws. We even collaborated to convince the Oregon State Bar that lawyer-lobbyists were engaged in the practice of law, not just in legislative puffery.

When he published his Cosmology book, I had to look up the word to know what he was writing about. I attended his lecture at Powell’s to try to understand it, and I remember the large and eclectic audience it drew. Even after reading the whole work, I grasped only a fragment of what it was all about. That's the kind of stuff Jim did in his “free time”. 

We exchanged New Year’s greetings in 2019, when Jim reminded me of a conversation we’d had in the Capitol years before. He’d told me that “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” And he noted that the observation “ . . . derived from a credo within the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) community that just because we have not yet discovered ETI, that doesn’t mean that ETI does not exist.” 

And that’s just one small way Jim Gardner will be remembered by so many of us in his wide circle of family, friends, and colleagues in Oregon and elsewhere.
Posted by Jody Daniels on April 23, 2021
Jim will be so missed. His brilliance, institutional memory, his respect for all points of view, his talent for bringing people together. He was a mentor for so many of us. Jody

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Donna Petre on April 10, 2022
I remember as if it were yesterday the first time I heard about the amazing Jim Gardner. I was in the office of the Constitutional Law Quarterly at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and Lynda had just finished talking with him on the telephone. I recall her telling me with such excitement, pride and definitely love of this wonderful person she had met. Since Lynda has always been a very serious person, I knew that only someone truly remarkable would be able to capture her heart. And I learned later that Jim Gardner was truly extraordinary in every respect -with his utter brilliance, mixed with such an immense curiosity about everything, his probing analysis of complex issues, his amazing facility for languages and his unmatched zest for life - all combined with such gentleness, warmth and laughter. Although he was always truly, the smartest person in the room, he never made others feel inadequate; he was always so gracious and kind. I remember one particular time together, when we were having dinner together at our house in Mirabel, when Jim told us about his thoughts on meeting Lynda. He told us that on meeting Lynda, he imprinted on her “like a duck” and that after meeting Lynda he knew there would never be anyone else for him. It was for both of them, as the French say, le coup de foudre.
Over the years, it was Dennis and my good fortune to be able to spend so many wonderful times with Lynda and Jim in Portland, Ashland, Italy and France. Our very last evening together was in Moderna at the world’s best restaurant! The Gardners always knew how to enjoy life by finding the best that life could offer! We came away from that dinner, as we did every time we were with them, knowing that this was no ordinary couple, but a truly extraordinary team. By their friendship, our lives have been enriched enormously and we will always owe them both a huge debt of gratitude.
We shall miss Jim always but what a gift of so many happy memories he has left those of us who had the good fortune to have him as a friend. Love to you always Lynda. What a terrific choice you both made so many years ago.  Donna and Dennis
Posted by Anne M on May 26, 2021
From my first meeting with Jim, when he was a 21-year-old Wall Street Journal summer intern (with front page articles in the summer of 1967,) it was crystal clear that Jim was bound for glory. It was also apparent that his extraordinary care for his mother and his siblings marked him apart from many of his careless and carefree classmates at Yale. That was the year that, as Scholar of the House, Jim flew to Paris to interview Jean-Paul Satre.

While most of his college classmates avoided the military draft, the summer of 1968 found Jim in basic training in the United States Army, learning to eat a "meal" in 15 seconds. After his courageous service in Germany, while his law school classmates were free to concentrate on their studies at Yale Law School, Jim was caring for his four younger siblings after their mother's untimely death in 1971, while also racking up an academic record so stellar that it was rewarded by the highest honor accorded recent law graduates, a coveted clerkship at the United States Supreme Court.

His life was only enhanced by his brilliant and loving marriage to the extraordinary Lynda.  In his happy and rewarding later years, Jim continued to write books, represent world-renowned clients and spend his leisure weeks at his and Lynda's glorious villa in the South of France, enjoying the fruits of their labors in a style unimagined by those not fortunate enough to have sampled the wonders of time in timeless Provence.

Some might view Jim's life as epitomized by the title of the 1954 Kingsley Amis novel, "Lucky Jim," but to those who knew him from his youth, there were precious few indicia of luck back then -- except, of course, for his compassion; his love for his family of origin, later extending to the fine family he lovingly created with Lynda; his off-the-charts intelligence, always sheathed in immense modesty; and his exemplary character and moral compass. And...his wonderful sense of humor!

It has been a profound honor and a deep pleasure to have known James Nelson Gardner, and I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed not only in our youth, but continued to do so for the next 54 years. What a blessing his life was to all who knew him. He will live forever in our hearts and minds as an admirable example of all that a great human being can be. No greater man has ever lived than Jim Gardner.

May God bless and grant comfort to Jim's beloved Lynda, as well as to their adored children, Rachel and Joe, and grandchildren, Anza and Elio, and to the sisters and brother he so loved, Dolly, Ruth Louise, Esther, and John -- knowing how much love, joy, tenderness, and beauty they added to Jim's life.

And God bless you, dear Jim, forever and ever.

Posted by gerard maurice et michele on May 24, 2021
 Voici ce que Jim est pour nous :

            Un homme passionné et passionnant
Il cultivait l‘amour de la vie et du bien .
A travers ses conférences et ses livres il communiquait les résultats de ses lectures et de ses recherches sur sa vision de l’homme et de
l ‘ univers , sa joie de vivre , pour s ‘ émerveiller toujours plus sur les mystères de notre monde.
N ‘ ayant pas reçu une formation scientifique poussée il n' en était pas moins très averti de l’état actuel de la science en mathématique
comme en astronomie , de l’ infiniment petit à l’ infiniment grand , recherchant les preuves de l ‘ amélioration de la condition humaine.

          Grand voyageur pour des motifs sociaux , politiques ou commerciaux il nous contait merveilleusement ses voyages grâce
à sa prodigieuse mémoire .

         Soucieux de concilier sa vie professionnelle et sa vie familiale
il courait après le temps. Quand il paraissait endormi , car fatigué , il disait « intéressant cela » et « que pensez vous de... » ; il savait
relancer et animer la conversation sur tous les sujets avec humour.

         Un homme passionnant et étonnant : par ses questions il nous poussait à réfléchir sur des problèmes philosophiques ou
métaphysiques.

        Un homme bon et généreux , fidèle en amitié acceptant de nous consacrer du temps malgré nos défauts et notre ignorance.

                    Une nuit de 1987 nous avons été réveillés à deux heures du matin par un appel téléphonique nous sollicitant pour un
échange de maisons à Portland Oregon. Nous avons répondu : « mais où est l Oregon ? »
      Depuis cette fameuse nuit nous nous sommes rencontrés presque chaque année soit aux U S. A soit en France.
            Au nom de cette longue et solide amitié nous te présentons à toi Lynda et à tes enfants toutes nos condoléances.

                                             Très affectueusement.

                                                        Maurice et Michèle.
Recent stories

Text from the James N. Gardner Wikipedia webpage

Shared by Dolly Greene on May 10, 2021
James N. Gardner
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James N. Gardner (1946-2021), professional lobbyist, complexity theorist and graduate of Yale Law School, was the author of the Biocosm Hypothesis, which argues that intelligent life eventually emerges as the architect of the Universe.

He was a graduate of Yale College and the Yale Law School. He studied philosophy and theoretical biology. He was also an amateur cosmologist, and has published peer-reviewed articles which have been published in Complexity and the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. He was also a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk and a former Oregon state senator.

Biocosm hypothesis

In the book Biocosm: The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life Is the Architect of the Universe (2003) Gardner presented the "Selfish Biocosm Hypothesis" in which he sas that there is a cycle of cosmic creation, in which highly evolved intelligences with a superior command of physics spawn one or more "baby universes," designed to be able to give birth to new, intelligent life. Thus, the ability of the present universe to support intelligent life as well as it does is not an accident, but the result of evolution in a long chain of the creation of more and more "bio-friendly" universes. Originally presented in peer-reviewed scientific journals, Gardener's "Selfish Biocosm" hypothesis proposes that life and intelligence have not emerged in a series of Darwinian accidents but are essentially hardwired into the cycle of cosmic creation, evolution, death, and rebirth. He argued that the destiny of highly evolved intelligence is to infuse the entire universe with life, eventually to accomplish the ultimate feat of cosmic reproduction by spawning one or more "baby universes," which will themselves be endowed with life generating properties.

--------------------------------------------
Link to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_N._Gardner


Mama’s Dream … Mother’s Day 2021

Shared by Dolly Greene on May 9, 2021
As I walked on the beach by the Pacific Ocean on Jimmy’s 75th birthday, I contemplated how Mama may have felt about bringing her first child into the world back in 1946 after the end of World War II. The salty air beside the ocean was heavy with moisture and warmth, heralding spring back from the days of winter storms at sea. I thought about what a wonderful day of the year this was for a baby to be born. I know that I will always celebrate Jimmy’s birthday and the gifts his life brought to us all.

I recall that as a young girl in Kansas City, Mama talked to us about her trust in the Bible. I remember Mama telling me her thoughts as we sat beside the fireplace and talked about important topics. She recalled that before she decided to have her first child, she opened the Bible randomly to seek an answer to her question about bringing new life into the world. She found a passage that told her she would have a son who would be a leader among men. That son was James Nelson Gardner, and he did become a leader in so many regards, within the family and in the world at large.

Mama’s words to her children ring true in our hearts long after her passing in May of 1971. She wrote a letter to us we take to heart saying, “First, you can never know how very greatly God has favored me in giving me not one but five of the most lovely and talented children I have ever seen. I feel very humble and yet very honored that He should consider me the one worthy of being your Mother.” Talented and intelligent are words that only begin to describe Jimmy. His energetic and caring spirit carried his siblings, his wife, and children through life as no one else could.

I recall Jimmy’s expression and sincere desire that Mama could have lived to see her grandchildren and great grandchildren. On this Mother’s Day 2021, I think about the children’s musical drama production “Flight into Understanding” that Jimmy helped Mama write during the Vietnam era. In a prologue to the play, they wrote, “Peace is a major concern of us all, and yet except for those of us who have sons who may be called to fight or those whose sons are now at war, it is still something far off, unreal. More real to us is a feeling of day to day struggles. We propose that misunderstanding and distrust can be overcome, perhaps through the mind in a dream.”

Jimmy made the dream Mama dramatized in a musical children’s play become reality. His lifelong work is a testament to his desire to bring the world together in harmony and to understand the universe to the extent possible. Mama truly had a son who was a leader in the truest sense of the word, a leader in his family, his state, country, and world. He will be loved forever.

On April 10th, 2021 as Jimmy stepped into the beautiful and infinite cosmos to join his Mama and Daddy. We honor him with the comfort of his Mother’s words on this Mother’s Day. In 1971, before she passed away, Mama wrote the passage below to her five children, knowing that she had little time left with us.

“I ask only that God take care of you and that you will know He is ever near and that I, your Mother, loved you as much as is humanly possible. Love each other, help each other and remember I would kiss each of you goodnight if I were with you tonight.”

Now Jimmy is with his family in the cosmos once again. We will look to the stars with wonder and some day join the infinite cosmos with him. Until then, let us fill our senses with the wonder of being alive on this small, blue planet in the sea of an infinite universe.

Great memories of Jimmy @ Starlight Theatre

Shared by John Gardner on May 5, 2021
As my sisters mention in their wonderful tributes, our brother Jimmy was always an amazing inspiration for all of his siblings, a person of outstanding abilities and achievements, with a very funny sense of humor.  

My sister Ruth mentions Jimmy was a young actor and singer.  In about 1956, he played the role of Michael in Peter Pan at Kansas City’s Starlight Theatre, a large outdoor summer theater featuring many Broadway musicals.  Later, he was a member of the chorus there.  We all loved watching Jimmy sing and perform at the exciting shows at Starlight in the summertime under the stars. I think that experience really inspired us younger kids to participate in plays and other performing arts. 

When I was about 6 years old, it was a great thrill for me to play one of the lost boys in my first role in the musical Oliver at Starlight at the same time that Jimmy had a speaking role and in that play. One of our favorite songs from Oliver was “Food, Glorious Food” which we would later sometimes sing at various family feasts.  My short acting career reached its height at a few years later but it was such great fun and an adventure for a kid to be in a musical at Starlight with Jimmy.  When I played "Little Jake" in Annie Get Your Gun, I remember Jimmy sent me a telegram from Yale - which I still have - in which he wrote, "Good luck to my favorite brother!"  

That’s just one example of how our brother inspired and encouraged his younger sisters and brother to seek out new adventures and opportunities, there are many others.

I’ll always feel very proud and lucky that Jimmy has been my big brother! 
Best wishes,
Johnny

Jimmy Gardner as a young actor @ Starlight Theatre in Kansas City:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/XBrH4WDWdRfc2VTs8