Sammy Ray Gardner, age 62, of Lake Brownwood died at the V. A. Hospital in Temple following a lengthy illness.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday in the Heartland Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor Kelly Crenshaw officiating. His body will be cremated following the services and later interred in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at the funeral home.

He was born April 7, 1949, in Stamford, Texas, the son of the late Roy and Gladys Pritchard Gardner. He graduated from Bangs High School and later received his bachelor's degree from Tarleton State College. He served with the 101st Airborne Unit of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Conflict.

He later returned to teach at Bangs Junior High School as an instructor of math, keyboard and science. Following his retirement from teaching, he worked at the Texas State Park at Lake Brownwood until his retirement again. He was a member of New Beginnings Church in Brownwood.

He had many life-long friends of whom he cherished greatly and had a tremendous love for his children and grandchildren. He loved the outdoors - especially fishing and riding motorcycles.

He was married to Tracy Henry on Nov. 16, 1996, and had lived at Lake Brownwood for the past seven years, moving there from Bangs.

He is survived by his wife, Tracy Gardner of Lake Brownwood; daughters, Kelly Etheredge of Roscoe and Sara Jo Newton of Lake Brownwood; step-daughters, Amanda Schwartz of Stephenville and Misty Esqueda of California; step-son, Jackie Wagner of Austin; 10 grandchildren; and a sister, Sis Gardner of Aspermont. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Samuel Kenneth Gardner and Billy Roy Gardner.

Friends are encouraged to sign the guest book at