John Daniel Gardner BA '69

John Daniel Gardner BA ’69, JD ’76


John Daniel Gardner BA ’69, JD ’76 died peacefully on June 5, 2022, with his sons and sisters at his side. He was 75 years old.

John was born in Portland on August 27, 1946, to Dan and Mary (Cormack) Gardner. He married Christine Larson in 1970. During their 11-year marriage they had two sons, Ian and Alex.

Before entering law school, John was part of the Old Spaghetti Factory management team and traveled with the company, opening up new locations. He created the concept for Frankensteins, one of the first large live music venues in Portland. Later, he tended bar at Stanich’s.

Following law school, John worked as a Multnomah County deputy district attorney for 24 years. While at the DA’s office, he volunteered with the Grant High School Classroom Law Project and took pride in its many successes.

After retiring, he worked part-time for Beaumont Hardware, New Seasons Market, and The Moon and Sixpence.

John was a man of many talents and interests, but his first priority was his boys. He took pride in raising them as a single father, supporting their sporting, social, and scholastic efforts. He allowed his sons to forge their own paths, applauded their efforts and strengths, and always had their backs. John’s honesty and words of wisdom were valued by his boys and their friends; the door was always open at the Gardner residence.

John ran numerous Portland marathons, the Boston Marathon, and for a time was responsible for the race route design of the Portland Marathon. A top student, he participated in legendary volleyball tournaments. John was an avid reader of history and U.S. politics, and had a photographic memory. If you had the time, he could provide history lessons on everything from the Russian czars to the Watergate scandal. He also loved music and dancing, was a nature photographer, bird watcher, and, briefly, a drummer in the Clan Macleay Pipe Band.

John was generous with his time and resources. He also was always true to his beliefs, his strong core values, and his true path.

John was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved niece Hawthorne. He is survived by his sons Ian and Alex; his grandchildren Austen, Max, Jonathan, Ella, and Wesley; his sisters Ann and Mary Pat; and his nieces Maggie and Kate.


John Gardner BA ’03 earned a PhD in higher education leadership from Colorado State University in May 2019. He now works as director of Title IX and training at A.T. Still University of Health Sciences.