row2k Features
In Memoriam
Jim Gardiner
November 3, 2016
Ed Moran,

Gardiner and Costello in 1955

row2k received the following note from Al MacKenzie this week:
A memorial service for Jim Gardiner was held this past Sunday. Jim kept a pretty low profile once he moved to Seattle. He was one of the "Boys in the 2X" in Melbourne '56 Olympics - only 20 years after the ones in '36. Also he was instrumental in getting Seattle University Crew up and running (along with an assist from Charlie McIntyre) in the mid 1960's. I've attached a photo from back then when they were rowing out of the old LWRC lean-to attached to the old UW Shellhouse (BitB). Great pic of the VW Beetle used for transporting a shell.

Seattle U trailer 1965

Lenny O'Donnell helped with digitizing the film I received from Stan Pocock some time ago of the '56 rowing: 1956 Olympics 2x Jim Gardiner

And here is the link to the video with the footage from the Detroit Boat Club: Jim Gardiner Detroit Boat Club

The DBC is where I got my sculling roots the Summer after my freshman year at the UW.

Al MacKenzie

Al sent us a bunch of photos of Jim and crews, seen below; great thanks to Al for his memories of Jim.

James Arthur Gardiner liked to keep a low profile. That was how his friends and family chose to remember him. But that was not easy for a man who accomplished so much in life.

Gardiner was an Olympian who stood out in the rowing community his entire life. After winning a silver medal in 1956 in Melbourne, Australia in the double with Pat Costello when they were members of the Detroit Boat Club, Gardiner brought his love for rowing with him when he moved to Seattle, Washington in 1963. Once settled in his new home, he continued rowing and was instrumental in starting the men’s rowing program at Seattle University, while also continuing his work with the U.S. national team as manager for the 1968 Olympic team.

He was also an artist who enjoyed taking pictures and sculpting, using metal and glass castings and he passed his passions on to his students in the Art Department at Highline Community College where he accepted the role of Art Director for the final ten years of his working career. Gardiner worked until he retired at the age of 78. While immersed in his passions, he was also a devoted and loving father of three daughters, Kristin, Katie and Kerry.

Gardiner passed away April 19, 2016, and on Sunday, 60 people gathered to celebrate his life and contributions to rowing and art at the University of Washington Activities Center, which overlooks Lake Washington and Union Bay where he spent so much time in his single.

Raised in Detroit, Mich. Gardiner attended Denby High School and then Wayne State University, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree with a minor in geology in 1959. As a young man, Jim worked several jobs in the Detroit area, including summers as a farm hand. Following college, Gardiner worked in the design center at General Motors. He was also a summer lifeguard on Lake Erie where he was recruited to row at DBC.

He trained and became a proficient sculler, competed and won a gold medal at the 1955 Pan American Games before winning his place on the Melbourne Olympic team. Following his days as an international competitor and his move to Seattle, Gardiner continued to scull, rowing his single on Lake Washington out of the old University of Washington Shellhouse. Gardiner is survived by his three daughters, four grandchildren, his sister Pat's daughter and two sons, as well as extended family in Michigan and Canada.

See Jim's full obituary here.


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11/04/2016  8:34:20 PM
Wow! The third picture down is a real trip back to 1958 with probably the most successful DBC crew ever that was built by coach Ken Blue aka "the bird" based on Walter Hover's 1956 Olympic dual silver medal wins with Gardner and Costello in the double and Welchli, the Michinley brothers and Macintosh in the four. It was that success that inspired me (2nd row down 2nd from the left), a 135 LB. 17 year old HS junior to start rowing at the Detroit Boat Club in 1957 and having immediate success. What a great bunch of guys! From the top row right is Ken Blue then Iban Dibos (FISA medal presenter at Rio this year and former Mayor of Lima Peru), Jim Gardner is next, followed by John Welchli and then Pat Costello. The trophy in the foreground is either the Barns point trophy from Nationals or a Canadian Henley trophy. DBC ruled from the mid 50's to the late '60s.

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