Robert Paul Gardner

Published 9:25 pm Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Robert Paul “Bob” Gardner, 95, entered his eternal, heavenly rest on March 10, 2017, with loved ones by his side.

Services are at Grace Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 18, at 2 p.m. Visitation is at Wade Funeral Home on Friday, March 17, from 6 to 8 pm. Burial will be in Sedalia, Mo., at Memorial Park on March 24.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to Grace Lutheran Church Music Ministry or to the Custodes Libertatis Memorial Foundation for the education of children of fallen warriors from the U.S. Naval Academy (

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“Bob” entered this life on Feb. 21, 1922, at home in Sedalia, Mo. He was baptized into new life on May 19, 1922, at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

Bob grew up in Sedalia as the second of three sons to Lawrence Fred and Nora Helen Bruns Gardner. Bob came from very humble beginnings, raised in a four-room house built by his father. He enjoyed playing baseball and studying; he had a newspaper route, cut grass and washed windows of wealthy homeowners on Broadway Boulevard “for a few cents an hour” to help support the family during the Great Depression. He attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School and graduated from Smith Cotton High in 1940. As a child at St. Paul’s, he met the girl he would later marry, Alma W. Kurtz. At an early age, Bob had a profound love of music. He joined the church choir at St. Paul at the age of 8. He would continue to sing in his church’s choir until the age of 93, when he decided he had sung long enough and thought it was time to retire.

In 1942, Bob entered the United States Army. Serving with the 66th Infantry Division, he departed overseas for Europe in 1944. In March 1946, Bob was honorably discharged and returned to Sedalia and married Alma on June 2, 1946. The couple moved to Kansas City, where he worked for Standard Brands and earned an accounting degree at night from the University of Missouri Kansas City. In 1949, he was transferred to New Jersey, where Janice was born in 1951. After more than a decade in New Jersey and New York City, the family moved to Suffolk, where Bob began a career with Planters Peanuts. There he served as chief financial officer, lobbyist and president of the National Peanut Corporation.

By retirement, he had spent 38 years with the company, which today is Kraft Foods. He saw the company go from Standard Brands to Nabisco Brands to Kraft Foods. After retirement in 1987, Bob and Alma moved to Arlington, Texas, to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. Bob became an avid basketball fan of his grandkids’ court time.

He was a supporter of Grace Lutheran School, where they attended. Through his Kiwanis activities, he started the “K” Kids at Grace. He was also very active in Arlington Charities, serving on its board for many years. After arriving in Arlington, Bob and Alma joined Grace Lutheran Church. Bob served as a reader and a choir member for the next 28 years. Bob and Alma were also very active in the Senior Saints 55+ group. Sadly, he lost Alma in December 2001. However, he maintained his own home for the next 15 years. In 2006, his granddaughters convinced him that he needed a companion. Charlie Brown, a white standard poodle, arrived on the scene. They were the best of friends. Charlie Brown was faithfully at his bedside on the day of his death.

Bob is survived by his daughter, Jan Runzheimer, and her husband, Jim; grandchildren, Daniel Runzheimer, of Texas, Kristin Runzheimer, of Texas, and Sarah Weber, of Virginia, and her husband, Ryan; two great-granddaughters, Selah and Jordan Weber; four nieces, Judith Hanrahan, Helen Zimmerman, Patti McGuirre, all of Missouri, and Kathy Bogey, of Texas, and a nephew, Thomas Gardner, of Missouri; and a number of extended family and a multitude of friends.