Morris David Gardner was born July 31, 1926, in Logan, Utah, the youngest of 3 children of Anthony Snow Gardner and Almeda Stowell Hill. The family moved to King City, California the next year, as his father Anthony accepted a position working for the California Orchard company. At age 7, the family moved back to Utah, settling in Coalville, where he lived throughout the rest of his childhood and youth. In high school he developed an interest in football and basketball following in the footsteps of his older brother Dean who excelled at BYU in football and basketball.
Following graduation from Coalville High School in May 1944, he joined the Navy to train as a Naval Officer. Following the war, in 1946, he returned home to attend BYU on an athletic scholarship playing both football and basketball. He was elected to be the Sophomore President at BYU for the 1947-48 school year. However, he was shortly thereafter called to be a missionary in the French Mission. Instead of serving as class president, he chose to serve his church mission, leaving in the summer of 1947. During the second half of his mission, Morris crossed paths with a lovely young missionary, Orpha Stokes, from Idaho. After completing their full-time LDS missions, they fell in love forever and were married in the Logan Temple on September 4, 1950.
He studied hard graduating from Utah State Agricultural College on June 1, 1953, then on to the University of Utah Medical School, graduating in 1957. Post graduate training began in Ogden at the Thomas D. Memorial Hospital, then a year in Portland, then Stanford, and finally on to the Scott & White Clinic in Texas to complete a Gastroenterology fellowship. He returned to Ogden to begin medical practice, and soon relocated to Provo. He joined two other physicians to become one of the founders of the Central Utah Medical Clinic (Recently changed to Revere Health). This became one of the most respected and successful private medical multi-specialty practices. Morris enjoyed his medical practice and was involved in leadership positions throughout his career. He was president of the Central Utah Medical Clinic leading a large expansion of the clinic in 1988. He was chief of staff for the Utah Valley Medical Center for many years. He worked as a committee member for the State Board of Health in Utah and eventually became the Chairman of the board.
Morris loved life. He particularly enjoyed family, hard work, church activity, people and travel. Morris and Orpha traveled the world over, ultimately visiting 92 countries in their lifetime. His love of family took him all over the country to the important life events of his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His energy to get to all the baby blessings, baptisms, and ordinations is legendary.
Morris enthusiastically served in the church, faithful in whatever calling he received, including various Bishoprics and Stake Presidencies. He also served as Mission President of the Belgium Brussels Mission from 1983-1985. He returned to his medical practice for another nine years. He retired in May of 1994 to serve again, full-time, in the Swiss Temple from 1994-1995. He returned home from his temple mission in 1995 to serve as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple. He was called as a temple sealer by President Hinckley in 1996. He had the privilege to seal all of his grandchildren who were married in Latter Day Saint Temples for the next 15 years, until his health began to fail.
He died at home on July 1, 2019 at the age of 92. He is survived by his lovely wife Orpha, his children, Stanley M. Gardner (Cristie), Reed S. Gardner (Becky), Denice Gardner Vance, Kelly R. Gardner (Sara), Scott W. Gardner (Cynthia), Paul S. Gardner, 30 grandchildren, and 66 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, one son Eugene A. Gardner, and his siblings Dean Gardner and Phyllis Stacey.
A viewing will be held Tuesday evening July 9th from 6:30pm until 8:00pm at the Oak Hills 9th Ward LDS chapel at 1960 North 1500 East, Provo Utah. Another viewing will be held at the same chapel the morning of July 10th from 9:00am until 10:00am. Funeral services will immediately follow the viewing at 10:30am. The interment will be at the East Lawn Memorial Hills Cemetery in Provo. He will be interred next to his son, Eugene.
We would like to thank the caregivers from Rocky Mountain Hospice for their dedicated service to our family. Condolences may be offered, and memories shared online with the family at www.walkersanderson.com.