Andrew Gardner

April 25, 1972 - Dec. 16, 2022

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Andrew Otis Gardner, age 50, died peacefully in his home in Portland Oregon, on December 16, 2022, surrounded by his family, after a long battle with brain cancer. He was born in Bellport, New York, to Donald and Elizabeth Gardner. In high school, Andrew excelled academically, played trombone in the marching band, was a goalie on the varsity soccer team, and earned an “Overall Excellence” award, graduating in 1990. Andrew first faced brain cancer in 1993 as a student at Macalester College in Minnesota. There, he majored in chemistry and was a goalie on the collegiate soccer team. The tumor was surgically removed, but Andrew had to relearn how to speak because of the operation. Remarkably, he graduated from college in four years. He then went on to complete a master’s degree in environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan. To his family and friends, Andrew was a gentle giant with a wickedly sharp, often obscure, sense of humor. He saw himself as a supporter, offering an ear, a hand, or a nudge to help others. He was an avid cyclist who encouraged people to ride and would make sure no one got dropped from a group. He cared deeply for the environment and would rather repair or make something out of things he had, than buy new. His incredible memory for history, politics, geography, sports, beer, music, movies, (just about anything, really) allowed him to connect to many with ease–and to often provide a much-needed crossword puzzle answer. He loved the ocean and would often reflect while gazing at “the offing,” the visible swath of open sea that extends from just offshore out to the horizon. At home, Andrew was “Daddy” and head chef for his family (his roasted Brussels sprouts were the best!), supporting them through his wife’s long hours of medical training, and helping his daughter learn to bike, ski, and climb. Andrew faced brain cancer again in 2009 and again in 2019. Sadly, in 2021, a new, more aggressive type of brain cancer grew in his brainstem. He underwent additional treatment, suffering several serious complications along the way, yet set his quiet goal on being present with his family and friends for as long as he was still living well, by his terms. He is survived by his wife, Ashley; his daughter, Aubrielle; his sister, Susannah, and her children Sophie and Max; and his father, Donald. He was predeceased by his mother, Elizabeth, in 2014. Andrew lived life with this terrible disease so bravely, and for so long, without complaint. He is dearly loved and dearly missed. We wish him fair winds and following seas until we meet again. *** Andrew asked that his body be managed in the most environmentally conscious manner available at the time of his death. His body underwent soil transformation (human composting) at Earth in Auburn, Washington. A small amount of the soil created from Andrew’s body will return to the earth in all the places he called home: New York, Wisconsin, California, and Oregon. The remaining soil will return to the earth in a private conservation and restoration site on the Olympic Peninsula. Earth Funeral Group plans to open this land to the public in late 2023. Andrew did not want a formal memorial service. The family welcomes you to honor Andrew’s memory in whatever way feels right to you. One suggestion is to do an activity that you enjoyed with Andrew (or reminds you of him) and send a short email to his family to share. Email Ashley Gardner at Pictures encouraged! In lieu of flowers or meals, the family asks that you consider a donation to one of the groups that Andrew also supported: California: San Mateo County Parks Foundation Bicycle Sundays, “Bicycle Sunday is a year-round event that takes place along nearly four miles of Canada Road from Hwy 92 to Filoli Gardens. The road is closed to vehicles from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to give cyclists, rollerbladers and joggers free reign of the road.” New York: The Post-Morrow Foundation, “[The mission of the foundation is to] preserve and conserve the rural, cultural and historical character of the hamlet of Brookhaven and surrounding areas in Suffolk County, New York. This includes undeveloped real estate to be kept in its natural state as a sanctuary, open space or natural garden and improved and developed land to be used for the maintenance and care of such properties as well as for possible display and exhibit of appropriate collections.” Oregon: Community Cycling Center, “Our vision: to help build a vibrant community where people of all backgrounds use bicycles to stay healthy and connected. We believe that all Portlanders—regardless of income or background—should have the opportunity to experience the joy, freedom, and health benefits of bicycling. This is the motivation behind everything that we do.” Wisconsin: Wisconsin Bike Fed: “The Wisconsin Bike Fed is the only statewide organization working full time to ensure that Wisconsin is a safe, bike-friendly place for all cyclists.”


Leave the earth with beauty

Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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