Darlene “Dar” Janice Gardner, of Kimball, died in Aurora, Colorado on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.  Funeral services will be held at the Kimball High School Auditorium on Saturday, April 6, at 10:00 am with Randy Bohac officiating, burial will be held at Kimball Cemetery following. Friends may visit www.cantrellfh.com to view her Tribute Wall and leave condolences and share stories with the family.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Laura Hinton to be distributed between First English Lutheran Church where Dar was a member her entire life and the Kimball Public Schools.  The services for Dar have been entrusted to the Cantrell Funeral Home.

Darlene “Dar” Janice Gardner, daughter of Henry and Lorna Stahla, was born September 8, 1954, in Kimball, NE. 

Dar graduated from Kimball High School in 1972. She then attended the University of Nebraska for one year before returning to Kimball to work for the family business, Henry Stahla Mobile Homes.  In Kimball she married Mike Noah whom she met in high school and had four children: Spencer, Amanda, Laura and Scott.  In 2009 she married Tom Gardner, and had many adventures with him until he passed away in 2013.

Dar worked in the family business for 45 years beginning as a saleswoman, rising to president, and eventually becoming owner of the business in 1990. Colleagues attribute her keen business sense, unmatched work ethic, and compassion for others to her success.  She served as president of the Nebraska Manufactured Housing Association for four two-year terms, beginning in 2000. She was appointed to the Nebraska Motor Vehicle Licensing board by the Governor serving two terms and volunteered countless hours to the Mid-America Manufactured Housing Board. Capping off her remarkable career, she was elected to the RV/Manufactured Home Hall of Fame in 2023 by a vote of her peers. 

She was a passionate businesswoman, but she also lived by the motto “work hard, play hard”. She loved to travel, always with family and friends. Dar had her pilot’s license and loved her many adventures flying around and landing in the most outrageous places with her dad, children and customers. She enjoyed countless trips (flying on commercial airlines) to Europe, Australia, the Caribbean, and visiting friends and family all over the US.  When she wasn’t taking a plane for a trip somewhere she loved hosting large gatherings at her Lake McConaughy house, boating and relaxing. 

Friends and family were the most important part of Dar’s life to whom she provided so much love and support. She worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for her kids and would proudly boast about each of them graduating from college and their accomplishments.  She also loved being Grandma. She cherished each moment she got to spend with her six grandchildren and loved them deeply. Dar was the host for countless family reunions, holiday gatherings, Sunday lunches, or really any chance to get together to celebrate life with her friends. She was the glue that held everyone together.

Dar is preceded in death by her parents Henry and Lorna Stahla, husband Tom Gardner, sisters Rosie Walsh, Jean Winchester, Mar Hilkemeier, George Stahla and Henry Stahla.  She is survived by her siblings Diane (Ray) Stahla of Loveland, CO, Jack (Jean) Winchester of Cheyenne, WY, Ella Johnson of Kimball, NE, Norma Traynor of Fort Collins, CO, and Dave (Toni) Stahla of Kimball, NE, four children, Spencer (Nicole) Noah of Austin, TX, Amanda (Jon) Reid of Parker, CO, Laura (Tanner) Hinton of Pine Bluffs, WY, and Scott Noah of Kimball, NE and her six beautiful grandchildren, Giuliana, Adam and Luke Noah, Colt Reid and Reese and Harrison Hinton.