Funeral Services for H. Evan Gardiner

As you know, Funeral Services for Evan were held on Thursday, January 21, 2010.  

Since there were many of our friends and family members who were unable to attend, and because so many of those who did attend have asked for copies of the talks that were given, I decided to post the text of each of the talks here.  They appear below in the following order.

Tribute to Evan - Written by Margot Gardiner

Life Sketch - Given by Joy Germann

Tribute to Evan - Given by Monte Gardiner

Closing Remarks - Given by Bishop James Pack

Tribute to Evan - Written by Margot Gardiner, Given by S. Kent Madsen

Dear Friends and Family,

I desperately wanted to pay tribute to Evan myself today, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through it in any coherent fashion, so I’ve asked my Dad to read it for me.

Before I start, I wanted to take just a moment and thank you all so much for coming.  I have been so touched by how many of you came today, and the distance that many of you traveled to be here.

Our journey has, without question, been the hardest experience we’ve ever been through, but it has also been the most sacred experience we’ve ever had.  And that is because of the outpouring of love and concern that we have received from you - the countless prayers you have offered on our behalf, and the many acts of kindness and generosity that you have extended to us over the last several years.

Evan and I, and our children, have never felt so loved.  The Lord has watched over and protected us, and taken care of our every need, through you.  Our friends have become our family, and our family relationships have grown stronger.  There simply aren’t words to express what a blessing that has been to us.  From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Now let me tell you about Evan.

I met Evan in August of 1990 when we both started working as Resident Assistants in the dorms at BYU.  All the new R.A.’s had to attend a week-long training program before the school year started and there was a group of us that hit it off right away and became fast friends.  We ate meals together every day, and did fun stuff together as a group on the weekends.  Evan was part of that group, and he caught my eye right away.  When school started, Evan and I discovered we had a class together, so we started attending class and studying together.  He was smart, kind, good looking, and had a great sense of humor - so when he finally asked me out, I enthusiastically said yes!

At the end of our very first date, he told me how he felt about me and said that he wanted to date me exclusively.  He was so brave!  And I was thrilled!

At the end of every date he would set up the time and place when we would see each other again.  I never once had to wait by the phone, or wonder if he liked me as much as I liked him.  He made me feel completely safe and secure in our relationship, and that was a total departure from any of the other guys I had dated before.

On top of all that, he had such a great sense of humor.  He could always make me laugh – and that was pretty much a requirement for me.  Needless to say, I was head over heels in love with him!   Four months later we were engaged, and eight months after that we were married.

My favorite story about him from those early days is from when we were trying to find our first apartment.  Both of us were going back home for the summer to work and save money before we got married.  So we were trying to arrange for housing three months in advance, before we left Provo.  That proved to be much more difficult than we imagined.  We couldn’t find any landlords that knew what their vacancies would be that far in advance.

On his own, Evan decided to spend two whole Saturdays walking around the neighborhoods in south Provo, knocking on apartment doors looking for anyone who was planning to move out at the end of July.  He said he felt just like a missionary again – knocking on countless doors without success, and feeling just as frustrated.

I couldn’t believe he went to so much trouble.  I was perfectly content to just hope for the best and find something when we came back in the fall.  But he felt a strong sense of responsibility to provide for me, he always has, and he was not willing to leave the location of our first home to chance.  Eventually he did find us a place, and we moved right in when we arrived back in Provo after our wedding.

Over time, as I have reflected on what Evan went through to find us a place to live, I have drawn comparisons on many occasions to the image of Joseph searching through Bethlehem, without success, trying to find a suitable place for Mary to deliver the Christ child.  In many other ways, I have come to believe that Evan was a lot like Joseph.

After watching Evan interact with the freshman boys he was assigned to look after as a Resident Assistant, I knew he would be a good father.  But when he actually became a father, he surpassed all my expectations.  He has always been, and I know he will continue to be, a truly devoted Dad to Ryan and Lindsay.

He absolutely loved spending time with our children.  I would say he craved it!  On Sunday afternoons, when all I wanted to do was take a nap, he would spend hours playing board games, or building Legos with the kids.  He tried extremely hard to attend every sporting event, piano recital, dance recital, band concert, and school program that Ryan or Lindsay was ever in.

Just a few months ago, even though he was feeling really crummy, he sat in the freezing cold and rain to watch Ryan play football.  And he was so happy to be there.  At Lindsay’s most recent dance recital, Evan went to the store and picked out some flowers to give to her after the performance.  She was so proud of those flowers.

Before Evan died, he wrote letters to Ryan and Lindsay and to me.  In all three letters he promised that after he was gone he would do everything in his power to be there for each of us whenever we needed him.  I have already felt him close on one particular occasion two days ago when I desperately needed to feel his presence.  Because of that experience, I have felt assured that his spirit and his influence will be with us for the rest of our lives.

In closing, I would just like to bear my testimony about a few things.

Never at any time in the last two and a half years did Evan or I feel that this trial was given specifically to us by God, or that we had been chosen to endure this hardship.  We have always felt that this was just one of those random, unfortunate things that happen to thousands of people every day in this world.  What we have felt is that a loving Heavenly Father has blessed us with everything we needed to endure it, and endure it well.

He gave us wonderful, supportive families.  He gave us the best ward on the planet.  And most importantly, He gave us the gospel.  Without our knowledge of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and without the eternal perspective that comes with understanding the plan of salvation, this would have been a completely devastating ordeal.

Instead, our faith and testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel has been strengthened and enlightened.  I testify that Heavenly Father is real and that he loves his children.  I testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that because of his willingness to suffer and die for us, Evan is healthy and happy and free of pain and sorrow.

About an hour before Evan’s body died, I felt Evan’s spirit leave.  Even though his young and healthy heart continued to beat mechanically and instinctively for a short time afterwards, I knew he was gone.  I testify that the spirit and the body are two separate entities, and that our spirits live on after death.

All day Sunday, I missed him so terribly.  I knew he was busy enjoying a sweet reunion with his dad and grandparents.  His absence was excruciating.  But on Monday morning, when I woke and the grief began to sweep over me again, a picture suddenly appeared in my head that he had finished his reunion and that he had returned to comfort me.  It was the first time I had been able to picture him the way he used to be.  The image of him suffering and struggling to breathe all day Saturday had been so permanently etched in my mind, but finally it was gone.

I testify that Evan’s spirit is now healthy and happy and free of pain and sorrow.  I know, without any doubt, that he’s in a better place now and that we will see him again someday.  I’m so happy for him and I’m so proud of him.  He lived and struggled and died with absolute dignity.  He was, and continues to be, a good and kind and wonderful man.  I will miss him very much.

I testify of these things and express my deepest gratitude to all of you, and to my Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Life Sketch - Given by Joy Germann

I’m happy to take this time to tell you about the life of my brother, Evan Gardiner and some special memories that I have of him; Evan was just sixteen months younger than me and was born on Sunday, October 20, 1968 in Lowell, Massachusetts.

My father had just finished his doctorate in nuclear physics at Utah State University a few months earlier and had taken a job with the government in Massachusetts, and so Evan began his life as a New Englander, at our home in Billerica, Massachusetts.

My memories of him as a little child; are that he was a quiet, happy little boy who loved building cities with blocks and legos, roaming the woods outside, playing kickball and croquet—and he was mean when he was poison and made us cry--, riding his bike and sledding.

He had a bicentennial quarter collection. He loved to play board games and with his mathematical mind, was hugely competitive which in later years earned him the name of the “Gardiner snake” from his Madsen family. As he got older, he was an avid fan of the Red Sox and of the Boston Celtics during their glory days of the ‘80’s. One highlight of his teenage years was going on a 50 mile canoe trip on the rapids of the Allegash River in Main with his scout troop. Many people remarked that this experience matured him and he became an even better boy.

Evan went to Kindergarten in a beautiful old white Congregational church on the green in the center of town.  He attended Parker Elementary School, Howe Elementary School where he ran track, Marshall Middle School and Billerica Memorial High School where he sang in the Special Vocal Ensemble as a favor to his sisters who promised they would be nice to him if he did.

Evan had a streak of mischievousness and sense of humor that he carried all his life and often got him into trouble with his siblings. On one of our trips out to Utah to visit family, I had several accidents which were traumatic for me. For family home evening after the trip, we were asked to draw several pictures of our favorite experiences. Evan drew a picture of me dangling off the north rim of the Grand Canyon with the caption, “Joy fell off the Grand Canyon. We had fun! Another was a picture of my arm burning from a flaming marshmallow with the words, “Joy burned her arm roasting marshmallows. We had fun!”

Evan and his brothers were assigned to take care of our Dad’s large garden during the hot summer days. After weeding for a while, Evan would make some excuse to leave.  After a long time, his brothers would discover him lounging on a beach chair in the woods, drinking cold lemonade.  He would look up, smile lazily and say, “Just get it done”.

In spite of this, Evan was a hard worker.  Weeding and hoeing the garden were just one of the many things that he did.  Our Dad would often take him to shovel out the church or the widows he home taught after a big snow storm.  He often did yard work for the bishop of our ward whom Evan respected tremendously.  The Bishop would pay him and then hand him an extra dollar and say, “Here is a dollar for your mission fund.”  Evan credited him with inspiring him with a desire to serve a mission. 

At twelve years old, Evan took a job as a paper boy for the Lowell Sun and neither rain, sleet, snow or dark of night kept him from his appointed rounds!  His customers loved him because he was so dependable.  At 16, he turned his route over to his younger brothers and took a job at a hardware store for about a year, while keeping up his grades in school.  After graduating from high school, he took a job with a good man in our ward, plastering in-ground swimming pools.  He would travel as far north as Maine and as far south as Rhode Island to do this. 

Evan was very good with his money and started saving at an early age.  He was very generous with it and would often hold what he called “stash parties” for his siblings and buy tons of junk food that were not usually a part of our diet.  He took his sisters to the movies and once took me to a store for my birthday and said, “Pick out any outfit you want”.  He paid for the most part of a microwave for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary and walked all the way home with it in his arms from the store because he didn’t have a car.  

Evan was very independent and from the age of thirteen, paid for all his own clothing, bikes and anything else he needed.  He earned enough money to pay for his mission at a time when costs were not regulated and his mission was the most expensive in the church.  He had enough left over to pay for school and buy a car.

At nineteen, he was worthy to serve a mission and was called to Zurich, Switzerland, German speaking.  He left the MTC for Switzerland on January 19, 1987.  It was a difficult mission, and he had many challenges, but Evan wrote to me at the time that it was important for him to be a good missionary and he studied hard to learn the discussions in German.  

He recently told me that he was a good finder, that he had a talent to find people who were interested in the church.  Some were never baptized or if they did, it was after he moved to a different area and so he was never able to baptize anyone.  His mission covered Switzerland, Austria and West Germany and he was able to serve in all three areas.  
He tried many creative ways to find people.  One of his companions was an excellent violinist.  At Christmas time, he and Evan would take his violin out and play to the people in the street.  They would get some investigators that way.  One of his companions wrote to me that he was ‘impressed with Evan’s confidence and abilities as a missionary.  He was known for his excellent German and studied hard to improve, even if some of the means were a little unconventional.’  He later revealed to his companion that it was because he listened to a German radio station in the morning as part of his German language study and knew many of the catchy German pop songs.  His singing of them in the car bugged his companion terribly!  

‘Regardless of the circumstance,’ this companion wrote, ‘he was bold and courageous, willing to speak up and to lead, and had a strong testimony of the gospel.  He was a hard worker, but loved to have fun and horse around.’  

This companion told of a funny story that is characteristic of Evan.  As a zone leader, he was driving on a wet road and going a little fast.  His car didn’t follow the road and he plowed into a picket fence, damaging his car at the same time.  While waiting for the car to be fixed, he borrowed another one.  When picking up his original car and taking back the borrowed car, he and his companion each had to drive one and tried to stay together as they should as companions.  In the process, he and Evan became “BMW stunt car drivers” on the Autobahn as they raced each other home, passing each other whenever they could and trying not to be too reckless while the tires squealed.  They pushed those cars to the limit, but ultimately his companion became too cautious, and Evan prevailed.  Evan enjoyed rubbing that in for a while.

Evan had started college at BYU before his mission and like many freshmen; the thrill of being away from home for the first time was reflected in his grades.  When he came home from his mission, he realized the importance of being a good student, buckled down, and had excellent grades.  In fact, in one of his accounting classes, his professor called him in to compliment him on his effort at the end of the class because he had a perfect score on all his assignments and tests.  Evan was flattered until the professor asked him if he had cheated, because no one in the history of the class had ever done so well.  Evan firmly told him that his work had been all his.  Evan decided to major in accounting and graduated top in his accounting class.

Evan met the love of his life, Margot Madsen, in 1990 when they were both Resident Assistants at Deseret Towers on Campus at BYU.  She made him feel like he was the greatest guy in the world.  She would laugh at his jokes and they were so happy together.  He determined very quickly that she was the one for him and told her after only a few days that he was not planning on dating anyone else.  They were married August 24, 1991 in the Oakland temple.  

Evan loved and had great respect for his new Madsen family.  There were never any of the traditional in-law tensions.  He welcomed them heartily as part of his family and truly loved them.  

He and Margot settled into married life at BYU continuing with school.  Evan finished his Masters of Accountancy degree a week before their son Ryan was born. 

Ryan was born May 11, 1995.  Margot spent three days in the hospital at his birth and Evan spent the whole time with her, sleeping in a really uncomfortable chair.  Ryan instantly became the center of his world.  Evan put great thought and time into preparing for Ryan’s blessing—it was important that he say what Heavenly Father wanted him to say.  Ryan was bottle –fed and so Evan fed him all the time and spent all his extra time with him.  Ryan was a terrible sleeper and ended up in their bed which drove Margot crazy, but Evan loved cuddling and holding him.  Margot said he was a ‘hands on Dad’.  He loved taking Ryan to the park and playing with him.  He loved taking Ryan to the Portland Trailblazers and they actually ended up on the 10 o’clock news sports highlights.  When I would talk to him, his conversation was all about Ryan.
Evan and Margot very much wanted another child and tried for many years.  They were finally blessed with a beautiful girl named Lindsay.  Lindsay came to them on Evan’s birthday and Evan called her “my best birthday present ever”.  Lindsay’s birth mom brought Lindsay to them and immediately put her in Evan’s arms instead of Margot’s, which both social workers said that they had never seen done before.  One of the reasons Lindsay’s birth mom picked Evan and Margot was that she wanted Lindsay to have a returned missionary dad who was a worthy priesthood holder.  She didn’t know that it was Evan’s birthday when she gave Lindsay to them.  

Evan loved Lindsay from the very start.  I remember how he glowed the day she was sealed to their family as he expressed his gratitude for her and gratitude for the support of family and friends during that time.  He loved to take her to the park by their house and go on walks with her.  When he was sick and had to stay at home, Lindsay was his pal and they would play hundreds of games of Shutes and Ladders and Candy land.  

Evan taught Ryan and Lindsay their letters with sponge letters in the tub, so that within months after starting Kindergarten, they could both read.

As a family, they really enjoyed hiking, especially Evan.  He would take Ryan to climb the 'Y' many times.  They would hike Provo Canyon with Lindsay in her backpack and he would hike Timp and Squaw Peak. 

Evan had a good heart.  His sister Jan remembers how he would try to comfort her when she was sad.  He protected me from mean people when I was younger by saying, “Don’t do that. She’s my sister”.  When I was sick with cancer, he would often call me on his lunch break to see how I was.  If he ever noticed anything on the news near me that was dangerous, he would call and check on me. 

Evan loved his mom and felt very protective of her.  He did all he could to help her.  When our dad passed away suddenly, Evan was the first to arrive.  He put his grief aside and immediately set to work, taking care of all of my dad’s affairs, getting everything ready for the funeral, dealing with the insurance company, and making sure that my mom’s needs were met.  

He did not allow himself to break down until much later when everything was finished, which was a really difficult experience for him.  When my mom was preparing to move to Utah, he and Margot flew home to Billerica to help my mom clean out the accumulation of thirty years from her house.  He regarded the care of my mom as his personal responsibility from his dad.  He regarded the care of her finances as a sacred trust to make sure that she would have enough to live on.  He did the best he could and always had her best interest at heart.  Margot mentioned that she was sometimes jealous because he tried so hard to help Mom.

Evan did not crave the lime light at church and tried very much to be behind the scenes.  He had seen the burden his dad carried as bishop and did not aspire to that calling.  However, he was a willing servant to do whatever Heavenly Father asked him to do.  He was executive secretary twice and Elders Quorum president.

Evan began his professional career as an accountant for the prestigious company Deloite and Tusch in Portland in 1995 and worked there for three years.  He received his CPA after only six months of being there and was promoted twice, finishing as senior account manager.  His work load was heavy and he averaged 60-80 hours a week there.  It left him with very little time for Margot and Ryan, and was one of the most stressful times of their lives.  On top of this, he was Elder’s Quorum president in a ward with very little active priesthood, so he functioned with no counselors for 8 months, did all the home teaching and priesthood lessons while holding Ryan in his arms. 

In 1998, he took a job with Novell in Utah as an accountant.  He and Margot moved to American Fork.  They felt really drawn to their neighborhood and Margot says she now understands why because of all their kind and supportive friends.  He was very successful at Novell.  He discovered ways to save Novell a great deal of money and became employee of the year for his department.  

Although he loved the people that he worked with, his workload began to increase almost to the point it was in Portland, so he began to look for other opportunities.  His dream was to work for BYU and when a job in Regulatory Accounting came along, he jumped at it.  It was a wonderful opportunity for him.  He loved going to work every day and was good at his job.  Not long after he was hired, he was introduced to President Samuelson, who shook his hand and said, “You’re the one who is going to keep me out of jail, right?”  

He felt so blessed to work at the university.  Margot decorated his office with beautiful pictures from Switzerland and he had a lovely view outside his window of Timpanogas and Squaw Peak.  He loved his boss and the people that he worked with and hoped to work there the rest of his life.  All his colleagues respected him.  Evan said that it was the saddest day of his life when he became sick and had to tell his boss that he was no longer able to work.  So much of his identity was wrapped up in what he did and it was very, very difficult for him not to be there anymore.

In 2004-2005, Evan started having mysterious health problems.  He and Margot went to many doctors, trying to get a diagnosis and eliminating possibility after possibility.  Evan told me that he spent hours on his knees, pleading with his Heavenly Father to help him know what was wrong and to help him get better.  It was a very difficult time, emotionally and mentally for both of them, because no doctor was able to help him, yet he was able to hold it together at work and support his family.  Margot was by his side through the whole ordeal, suffering alongside him.  

In 2007, Evan started exhibiting symptoms that could no longer be said were in his head or caused by strange microbes.  He had an MRI and they received the devastating news that he had a brain tumor called a glioblastoma, that was located in the center of his brain which controlled his sleeping and breathing and therefore was inoperable.  Evan and Margot were devastated, but he responded with his traditional humor by saying matter of factly, “I’m toast” and tried to laugh about it.  

We all continually prayed for a miracle as he went through radiation and two years of chemotherapy, which caused his tumor to shrink by 90%.  At that point, the chemotherapy became ineffective and was discontinued.  He began taking an infusion of the drug Avastin, which was supposed to prevent blood flow to the tumor, but Evan was unable to continue taking it because it was destroying his kidneys.  

He suffered horribly from the effects of the chemotherapy.  He lost his hair, gained great amounts of weight and had awful pain, nausea and exhaustion.  A byproduct of where the tumor was located was that he was unable to feel emotion.  In some ways, this was a blessing because he didn’t have great anxiety, but it also caused him great sadness because he was unable to feel joy either.  

Those who talked to him were always so impressed that he never complained about his trials.  I think I understand this better from an experience a few months ago when one of my children was struggling.  He gave her a blessing and which said that Heavenly Father loved her, and that no matter what the struggle she was going through, there was a always a silver lining if she looked for it, and Heavenly Father would help her get through it.  He was always positive and tried to make other people feel better about the things they were going through.  

He did his best to continue to live his life.  He would clean the house, help with the laundry and make dinner.  He took Lindsay and Ryan to their piano lessons and got Lindsay ready for school.  He would try to be at Ryan’s baseball and football games.  He and I talked about what an unselfish thing it was to try and get better with the chemotherapy, because if it were up to him alone, he would not do it and let the disease take over.  However, he wanted to be with Margot, Ryan, and Lindsay for as long as he could and so he paid the price he needed to for that to happen.

Evan started to have problems with his vision and painful headaches.   Another MRI done the week of Thanksgiving revealed a new tumor on his brain stem.  The doctor told them that they needed to be prepared that Evan might not make it to Christmas.  This was quite a blow.  Evan said, “I don’t want to go.  I just want to be with my family”, even though for so long he had been ready because he felt so bad.   

Evan’s eyesight continued to worsen and he began to lose his balance and fall, which was very frightening.  He was able to get through Christmas which was a blessing to their family.  Shortly after this, he had to be confined to a hospital bed. He became very sleepy.  As he began to decline, he still kept his humor and continued to make his family laugh.

I was blessed to talk to Evan almost every day for the last few months and had sweet, loving conversations with him about how blessed he was with a wonderful family, and how much his Heavenly Father loved him.  Toward the end, he was unable to say much.  I wasn’t sure if he understood all that I was saying to him.  Nevertheless, the last few days, I really felt like he heard me and so I would just tell him how much I loved him and some of the things I was grateful for about him.  

The last time I talked to him was on Friday and he seemed quite alert, but after a few minutes, I could tell that he was tired.  I said to him, “I wish I was there to sing you to sleep.”  Then I realized I could sing him to sleep on the phone and so I said, “I am going to sing to you, Evan.  I’m going to sing to you my son Patton’s favorite lullaby which is The Man in the Moon.  This is what I tell him when I sing it to him.  Your great-grandma Hurst sang this to Grandma Gardiner.  She sang this to me when I was a little girl and now I sing it to you.  Someday, you will sing it to your little boy or girl.  So here I go.”  I sang it to Evan, doing it badly because I was trying not to cry and then I said, “How was that?”  Evan--funny to the end--said, “Oh, stellar.”  I told him, “You need to wrap that song up around you like it was a hug from me and know how much I love you.”  I told him I would call him the next day and told him I loved him.  He said, “Love you, too.”

That night, Evan started to struggle to breathe and the next evening on January 16th, after visits from many of his family, he passed quietly away with Margot next to him. 

Just before he was diagnosed, I fasted and prayed with great urgency that he be made well and received a wonderful feeling of peace and that everything would be ok.  I took that to mean that he would get better, and held that to me with great faith.  As time passed and we realized that he was not going to beat this thing, I began to realize that the feeling of peace could mean something else.   I realized that to accept our Heavenly Father’s will for Evan would bring peace and to trust that his will was right.  I realized that I could not be happy any other way, and peace has come.

We are so grateful to Margot for her unconditional love for Evan and her support and kindness to him.  She was and is the perfect wife and friend to him.  She has been so generous to share him with our family, even when she probably needed him herself.  We are grateful to Margot’s parents and my mom, who unselfishly helped with Evan’s needs when he was unable to help himself.  We are grateful for the kindness of family and friends to Evan, Margot, Ryan and Lindsay during this hard time.

I loved my brother Evan with all my heart.  He was an “example of righteous living” as my dad wrote as his bishop on his missionary application.  He was courageous, loving and kind.  We are so grateful to have had him for the time we had.  We are thankful that his earthly suffering is over and that he is without the pains and problems that plagued his body for so long.  We are grateful to know that we haven’t lost him, and will see him again.  

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Tribute to Evan - Given by Monte Gardiner

To those of us who knew him, Evan was a good man. To those who really knew him, he was a great man. In everything that really matters, he excelled, and it has always been an honor to be his brother.

There are lots of jokes out there about accountants, almost as many as about lawyers. I'll refrain from telling any today, even though I suspect that Evan would very much approve and encourage that sort of thing. In some respects, Evan did nothing to diminish the old bookkeeper stereotypes. He could be analytical, pragmatic, dry, understated, risk-averse, stoic, and regimented. But he was also ironic, caring, conscientious, irreverent, introspective, mischievous, and even poetic. We certainly can't hope to do justice to the man today. What I am hoping to offer you is the perspective of a little brother.

Most boys grow up wanting to be like their dad. Not me--I wanted to be like my big brother, Evan. Five and a half years my senior, he was old enough to be authoritative and ingrained in the world of grown-ups, but he was also young enough to be an advocate, a mentor, and a friend. This concept--that of an elder brother who fills these roles--should be very familiar to us who profess a belief in Jesus Christ.

One of my earliest memories is that of the 3 of us brothers playing outside on one of those blustery Spring days you find in New England, where the weather can change at a moment's notice. As luck would have it, the sun had given way to dark clouds and finally to rain showers, which forced us to abandon our playtime and go back indoors. At Evan's suggestion, each of us brothers knelt down and prayed, in turn, that Heavenly Father would make the sun come out again. Sure enough, not long after we had finished, the sun did break through and start shining, casting a peaceful glow on the maple and apple trees in our yard. As we resumed playing, I remember the sheer elation as each of us felt that our prayer had been heard. And in my mind's eye, even now (decades later), I can still see my big brother kneeling and pouring out his little heart to his Heavenly Father.

It's hard to over-estimate the importance of the precedents set by this oldest brother. This importance is not lost on parents, either, which partially explains why they devote an inordinate amount of time and energy to disciplining the oldest child. Evan certainly had it much harder than his younger brothers, who benefited greatly from the trail he blazed. I'd like to touch on a few ways that Evan shaped his two younger brothers, Alan and me.

1. Evan loved good, clean fun. As a boy, Evan loved sports, particularly basketball, he loved riding his bike and lifting weights, board games, and being outdoors. He also loved a good prank, but his antics were always harmless and were never pointed or malicious. Now there are lots of vices and troubles that a teenage boy can fall prey to, but Evan's behavior never game my parents cause for major concern. Whether it was dating, or driving the family, Evan set a high standard for both of his younger brothers, and it's in large part due to his example that both Alan and I made through our teenage years without any serious setbacks or detours.

2. Evan taught us that we can do hard things. Whenever he started a project, he was meticulous in seeing it through to completion. He always seemed to be able to figure things out, even if there was no one there to teach him. Our father always placed a great deal of responsibility in him as the oldest boy, and Evan responded by applying himself and achieving results that impressed even our dad. He had the strength of our father, and the quiet determination of our mother. He was a tenacious worker who hated being idle. And in retrospect, I think that must have been the single hardest things about getting sick. Evan taught us that the most meaningful and rewarding achievements in life are the ones that come from hard work and struggle.

3. Evan went to BYU. I suppose we younger boys could have gone elsewhere to school, but after hearing the glowing reports Evan relayed about BYU, we hardly gave a thought to any other school. We were drawn by the siren call of Evan's description of campus life, the pretty girls, and the independence that 2,200 miles of separation from our home promised to provide. Evan recognized that BYU was a special institution with a unique mandate, and I'm sure that played a role later in life when he chose to seek employment at the school.

4. Evan went on a mission. He didn't waffle, didn't struggle over the decision. He simply went because he knew it was the right thing. It's not hard to imagine all the things in my life that could be very, very different if Evan had failed to set the example and serve a full-time mission.

5. Evan was an independent thinker. He knew the importance of keeping the rules. He also recognized that while some rules should never be broken, it's o.k. to cut yourself some occasional slack and take a few liberties, especially if your heart is in the right place. For example, he liked to tell about a time when, toward the end of his mission, he drove way outside mission boundaries in order to visit a town in Bavaria which was home to some of our German ancestors.

When I left for my mission, Evan infiltrated the MTC (Mission Training Center) campus and left a large grocery bag full of contraband (potato chips, candy, root beer and so forth) outside my dormitory door. That was no small feet considering the entire place was in lock-down mode and heavily patrolled by a cadre of MTC cops, and it elevated him to hero status in the eyes of my entire district.

6. Evan knew how to be serious, but he never took himself too seriously, and he understood the value of a good joke. I think all of us could rattle off examples of Evan's humor. I'll share a quick example--Along with others from my family, he accompanied me to the MTC to see me off when I went on my mission. There in one of the auditoriums, we sat there while the president of the MTC stood up and welcomed us to the Missionary Training Center. He was a huge man who probably weighed in excess of 400 pounds. As he introduced himself, he proudly declared to all the bright-eyed Elders, "I am your exemplar. Do what I do, and you won't go wrong." Whereupone Evan leaned over to me and whispered, "You better start eatin'."

7. Evan loved foreign language. As his younger brothers, we followed his example in this as well. He made a kind of game out of it. He had fun with the sound of foreign words and cadences, with colloquialisms and etymology. He took pleasurein dialect and regional nuances and history and culture. While on his mission in Switzerland, he sent me numerous German-language comic books and a book entitled 1,000 German Idioms (that contained such hits as "You are the rooster in the basket" and "I've stepped in the grease saucer.") His enjoyment of language opened doors for us, and our lives have been infinitely richer as a result.

8. Evan had his priorities straight. He was talented, and he could have chosen any number of professions. Years ago, I asked Evan why he had chosen to go into accounting, and I think his answer was telling. Essentially, he said that he viewed that profession as recession-proof, as a job that would always be in demand and allow him to provide for his future family. Evan grew up in a home where it was made clear that the boys would one day assume the role of bread-winner, and that there were such things as budget cuts, lay-offs and hard times. As a result, one of the values Evan prized most was stability, and that value informed all of his choices and he conveyed that on to us brothers through the choices he made.

9. Evan settled in the West. He loved the mountains, the vast open spaces, and the feeling of belonging he sensed in the land his pioneer ancestors had once settled, and where much of his extended family lived. He basked in the proximity of his house to Mt. Timpanogos, which to him was a singular icon of the country he loved so much. He loved the idea of bringing up his family in a place that embraced the valued he held dear--a place where he was not in the minority. A place where he could see evidence of his beliefs dotted across the landscape in the form of chapels, temples, and universities. Evan's love of the West, and Utah in particular, was infectious and rubbed off on all of us.

10. Most importantly, Evan married well. This is the single greatest example he set for me. In the marriage supermarket of BYU, there are all sorts of personalities from which you can make your selection. Not everyone goes home a satisfied customer, and unfortunately there is not satisfactory return policy. At some point in 1990, we began to hear reports about a certain Margot Madsen, who was "different from all the other girls Evan had ever dated." I got to meet Margot over Christmas break, when she came to visit us in Boston. From the onset, I was struck with how intelligent, substantive, and fun Margot was. And the best part was that even thought I'm sure we gave her plenty to re-consider, she wasn't scared off by our family! In Margot, Evan found a true partner that he could love and cherish, and as an impressionable young 16/17 year-old, I determined that that was exactly the type of woman I would someday marry.

In a day when the law of chastity is considered passe and covenants are routinely broken, Evan was a model of virtue. After he and Margot were married, I don't think he so much as looked at another woman. He made his family the center of his life, and he understood that it is our children who bring life's greatest joys. He was delighted when Lindsay joined the family, and he spoke repeatedly and with great pride of Ryan, and reveled in what a fine young man he has become.


Evan believed in the Plan of Salvation. He viewed this life as a sort of proving grounds that prepares us for the hereafter. He believed in the literal resurrection, and that the bonds of family and friendship need not end at death. He understood the necessity of making and keeping sacred covenants. He recognized the far-reaching consequences of his own actions, and knew that the blessings promised to him and his posterity in the temple are contingent upon his faithfulness. He didn't spend a lot of time pontificating or engaging in philosophical debate . . . the strength of Evan's convictions can be measured in the way that he lived his testimony.

Before I close, I want to express gratitude to Margot on behalf of all of us for the exceptional job she did in caring for Evan, prior to his diagnosis, during the course of his treatments, and also at the end of his life. They say that Ginger did everything Fred did, but backwards and in high heels, and that very much applies to Margot. At every step of the way, she demonstrated intelligence, courtesy and grace that so very much defines her.

In summary, as Evan's little brother, I can plot the exact trajectory of my own life as a function of the trail that Evan blazed. Everything good in my life has come as a direct result of his good example. I have 4 young sons, and I would be extremely gratified if each of them grew to the caliber of their Uncle Evan. He is a righteous son of our Heavenly Father. He honored his priesthood. He made his family the center of his life's work. He suffered the greatest of hardships with grace and good humor. He lived his testimony. As he awaits that day on which his body will be reunited with his spirit and he will again be surrounded by the loved ones he has temporarily left behind, he can rest assured in the knowledge that in every material respect, he effectively followed the Savior's example.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Closing Remarks - Given by Bishop James Pack

Just this past November, Evan substituted in our Gospel Essentials class during Sunday School. He had accepted a calling to serve as an assistant Ward Mission Leader, and our normal instructor was unable to teach that day. So, despite his challenging condition, Evan accepted the request from our Ward Mission Leader to substitute teach that Sunday.

This was just a week or so after he and Margot learned about his second tumor, and the reasonably imminent situation he was in.

During this lesson, Evan taught a very profound truth and an important principle regarding our duty and responsibility as children of God and brothers and sisters. His communication was very specific and pointed, almost a plea to those of us in the room. It was evident to me that he was not simply reading out of the manual, nor was the statement intended as a "feel good" Sunday School statement.

Evan said that we need to forgive others. He taught, and I quote, "if I have been offended, it's my problem. It's my job to forgive." He used the term "my," . . . "it's 'my' problem" and "it's 'my' job to forgive."

I could tell that he was as sincere about this testimony of truth as anything he has ever taught before. It came with such clarity of purpose that I wrote it down and recorded it in my journal.

Reflecting on Evan's statement that week, I was reminded of some Old Testament teachings. From Malachi we read:

"Who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire and fullers soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:2-3)

And also a verse from Zechariah:

"I will refine them like silver is refined, and test them like gold is tried. They shall call on my name and I will hear them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they shall say, 'The LORD is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:9)

Evan's teaching was in indication of the faith and the understanding that comes with enduring the refiner's fire.

Thou challenging and difficult, this process of refining and purifying has a glorious result. The scriptures use metaphors to describe this process . . . the heat and flame that purify gold and silver, and the boiling water and caustic fullers soap used to turn raw wool to white cloth.

Our Father in Heaven will sometimes prepare us for glory and a fullness of all He has to offer, by trial. Yet the result of this trial is nothing less than miraculous.

President James E. Faust wrote:

"Here, then, is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul.

"It is part of the purging toll exacted of some . . . . In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.

"Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnestly seek to do right and be faithful.

"States Peter, 'The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." (James E.Faust, "Refined in Our Trials," Ensign, Feb. 2006)

Brothers and Sisters, Family and Friends, Evan's passing, though tragic in its timing, is accompanied by personal faith and an understanding of eternal principals.

Evan had a deep and abiding testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He valued family and service. He was humble and accepting of our Father's plan for him. Evan was willing:

* As stated in the book of Mosiah, willing to submit to all things. (Mosiah 3:19)

* From the book of Helaman, willing to believe. (Helaman 6:36)

* And as stated in the Doctrine and Covenants, scripture revealed in modern times, Evan had a willingness to observe covenants by sacrifice (D&C 97:8)

Evan understood and accepted. He didn't leave with fear, but returned home with faith, and I might add, even a hint of humor. Evan understood the important things.

It is my prayer that we might be willing to accept the counsel taught by Evan this last November and forgive others that may have wronged us. And as President Faust stated, "let the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong."

I put my testimony beside Evan's, that it is through love, humility and sacrifice that we make ourselves worthy of eternal reward. And that all things, even Evan's passing and the struggles that remain ahead, will be overcome through the merit, and grace, and atoning sacrifice of our Savior.

These things I testify of in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Evan's Obituary

H. Evan Gardiner
(October 20, 1968 – January 16, 2010)

H. Evan Gardiner, age 41, passed away peacefully at home on January 16, 2010 after a courageous two and a half year battle with brain cancer.

Born October 20, 1968 to Harold and Janet Gardiner, Evan was raised in Massachusetts and graduated from Billerica Memorial High School in 1986.

He served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints in Zurich, Switzerland from 1987 to 1989.

Evan attended Brigham Young University where he met his wife, Margot Caroline Madsen. They were sealed in the Oakland, California Temple on August 24, 1991, and recently celebrated their 18th anniversary. He was a loving husband and a devoted father to their two children, Ryan (14) and Lindsay (7).

He graduated from BYU in 1995 with a Master’s Degree in Accounting and began his career working for Deloitte & Touche, in Portland, Oregon. He later returned to Utah to work for Novell in Provo. In 2002 he landed his dream job as a Tax Specialist in the Financial Services Department at BYU. He loved his work and always enjoyed his association with colleagues and co-workers.

Evan will be remembered especially for his quick wit and dry sense of humor. He could always make us laugh, even at the end! In his spare time, Evan loved hiking, working in the yard, playing games, attending sporting events, and above all spending time with his family.

He is survived by his wife and children, his mother Janet, his siblings Jan (James) Jordan, Joy (Tim) Germann, Alan (Marci) Gardiner, and Monte (Diane) Gardiner, his parents-in-law Kent & Ella Madsen, his sister-in-law Anne Madsen, and his brothers-in-law Paul (Danielle) Madsen, and David Madsen. He will also be deeply missed by his aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Evan was preceded in death by his father, and both sets of grandparents.

The family wishes to thank all the friends and relatives who provided unwavering love and support during the last several years, and express their sincere appreciation to the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and hospice aides who assisted in Evan’s care and treatment.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 11:00 am, at the LDS Hillcrest 4th Ward Chapel, at 700 North and 350 West in American Fork, Utah. A viewing will be held at the same location on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, and from 10:00 to 10:45 am prior to services on Thursday.

Interment will be at the American Fork City Cemetery. Funeral services are being provided by Anderson & Sons Mortuary in American Fork.