passed away Saturday evening, October 25, 2014, in St. George, Utah, she was 87. She was the fifth of 12 children to be born to Lida Bardmess and Albert F. Lani. Tootsie, her life-long nickname, was born at home in Ely, Nevada, on June 15, 1927. She had four brothers when she came into the world so her work was cut out for her. She was a member of the LDS Church. She married Elbert Gardner in 1943; they had one son, Elbert Leroy Gardner, Jr. and later divorced. In 1950 she married Robert L. Edwards and they were together until his death from Parkinson’s in 2005. Bob’s work took them throughout the West working on road construction, oil fields, at the Nevada Test Site and numerous other areas. They lived in Ely on several occasions, at one time running the restaurant, bar and store at Currant. In the early 60’s they moved to Logandale, Nevada where Tootsie operated a hamburger stand. In the 70’s they relocated to Pendleton, Oregon to be closer to their son’s family. Living on 10 acres at McKay Acres they grew and sold hay. Tootsie, a great promoter of Pendleton Round-Up, always invited friends and family to join them each September for the 10-day extravaganza. She especially enjoyed Indian pageantry and shows. She and Bob enjoyed attending all the sports their grandsons participated in; often traveling to watch wrestling marches. She was the best host ever. Having five younger sisters, and four older and two younger brothers, she had plenty of things to keep her busy. From the time all her nieces and nephews were small Aunt Tootsie’s was the place to be, she always had a myriad of activities planned and scrumptious food to eat. She enjoyed being a “match maker” among her family and friends. One never got bored if Tootsie was around, she was a great helper to everyone she knew. She made friends wherever she went. She and Bob helped untold family members in many ways throughout their lives. They loved to eat out and to play bingo whenever a game could be found. She enjoyed picking fruit and vegetables and canning them.
Elbert’s family moved out of Pendleton in the mid-80s, but Bob and Tootsie continued to keep their home base there. They developed a very endearing, special relationship with Lena and Jeff Iles, their first great granddaughter, Jenni’s parents. Bob & Tootsie went fishing, camping, vacationing, picnicking, and frequent get-togethers with them. The Iles had two more children to add to their joy. After their son and grandsons were scattered, the Iles were there to enjoy Nana and Papa. Until passing Bob and Tootsie were very extraordinary grandparents, very involved in their families’ lives.
They moved to Washington, Utah in the early 90’s, and remained for the rest of their days. In early 2009 she made contact with an old friend, Darrell Gardner, who was raised in Preston, Nevada. She and Darrell became reacquainted and spent many happy hours reminiscing and enjoying one another’s company. They had both lost their spouses of many years and their renewed friendship found them frequently traveling to family gatherings and activities; they were wonderful company for one another. Darrell died suddenly in 2012 and Tootsie greatly missed his companionship.
Family preceding her in death includes her parents, her brothers: Emzily, Lawrence “Doll”, Leroy and Raymond Lani; and sister, Vera Walkington as well as Bob’s parents and two sisters. Survivors include her son and daughter-in-law, Elbert and Carolyn Gardner; Sedona, AZ; grandsons and families, Chance Gardner, Australia; Law Gardner, Phoenix, AZ and Sudden Gardner, Prescott Valley, AZ. Other family members are: sister-in-law, Dorothy Lani, Ely, NV; her brothers: Don (Donna) Lani, Preston, NV; Glenn Lani, Roy, UT and sisters, Neva Burdick, Ely, NV; Eileen (Tim) Boyce, Logandale, NV; Deloros (Tim) Steward, Ely, NV; Beezy (Glade) Tobiasson, Logandale, NV. Also surviving are brothers-in-law, Bill Herman of Petaluma, CA and Ed Herman of Salmon, ID and Agnes Herman of Hayes, Kansas. She had 7 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren as well as numerous nieces, nephews, family members and friends, who will miss her bubbly personality, cheery voice, and keeping in touch with them.
At her request there will be no services. She is to be cremated and Bob’s and her ashes will be spread by family at a later date.