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Ralston Irving Gardner
May 14, 1928 ~ January 12, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old
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Ralston Irving Gardner was born May 14th, 1928, in Rochester, New York and died January 12th, 2024, in Brighton, Colorado. His father was George Gardner, and his mother was Marrietta Caroline Rosebrugh Gardner. The family would move to Groveland, New York, where his family lived on the Rosebrugh Farm for much of his early life. The family was close knit, and his mother took care of his grandmother, Marietta May Harrison Rosebrugh. He used to say he started working at 4am when he helped milk cows with his uncle Everett Rosebrugh. As he aged, he would tell it differently, and he said he followed Everett everywhere. Ross, or “Sonnie” as he was called, loved to tell stories of his childhood on the farm, but if you listened long enough, he never failed to tell you his Uncle Everett, Grandpa Ralston Rosebrugh, and father all died in 1938. As they all lived on the farm together, the tragedy for the ten-year-old was felt in many ways, and he had to go to work. Uncle Glenn Rosebrugh, who became the head of the household, helped raise him. Sometime in the early 1940s, Ross, sister Marietta Jean and his mother moved to Geneseo, a short distance away, to live and work on the Wadsworth Farms. It was there that he was working when he was drafted into the Army Air Force in 1946. Ross began his service in August of 1947.
Next to telling stories about his family on the farm, he loved to tell stories about his time in the service and traveling to Okinawa by ship to serve in the occupation forces on the island. From Okinawa, his next long term duty station was Lowery Air Force base in Denver, Colorado. He bought a 1949 Chevy and found his way to a roller-skating rink where he met Bonita Maxine Elliott, an excellent skater. On October 21rst, 1950, he married Maxine and they moved to an apartment on Pearl Street in South Denver. Expecting their oldest son, they bought a home at 2805 West 65th Avenue, and it was here they raised all their children.
Ross and Maxine deeply loved their children, Marietta, Norman, Cindy, and Dudley. When they were grown, they moved into their dream house, at 100th and Pecos. They would need the larger home to celebrate Christmas in as their grand-children, Jessica, Will, Emma, Jennifer, Janelle, and Kaylee came every year to their home. Soon, they brought their children: Rebecca, Micah, (Debora) Dee Dee, and Chloe to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s. As they aged, the younger great-grandchildren, Hope, Grace, Leah, and Asher came to see Grandpa Ross at Uncle Norman’s and Aunt Debbie’s house. Grandma Maxine passed on January 7th, 2018, before the younger great grandchildren were born.
Ross was generous beyond what most people knew. He was behind a lot of the monies given to his children and the pastors and missionaries. Once, in the 1960s, when the whole family went to Pueblo Colorado for the Church of God Camp meeting, one of the pastors had a flat tire that had to be replaced and he had no money, so Ross bought him a new one. On the way back to Denver, one of his tires went flat, and there was no spare. We hitchhiked back into town to a tire repair store and learned Dad had no money for a new tire. They patched the tire, and we made it back to Denver—no spare—little money, and there and then, we saw in action Ross would give “till it hurt” and give some more. His and Maxine’s belief was “you can’t out give God.” They loved their children and their Lord “with all their heart and with all their mind.”