Phillip Keith Gardner, son of Harley Herbert Gardner and Carmen Kellenbarger Gardner, was born Sept. 9, 1927, in Broken Bow. He attended school in Broken Bow and graduated with Class of 1945.
Phillip was drafted into the military at 18 years of age and took his basic training at S.A.C. Field near San Antonio, Texas. He was then transferred to Lowry Field at Denver, Colo., where he graduated from the Clerk-Typist Technical School and then taught military correspondence there to about 5,000 troops for the remainder of his service in the newly formed United States Air Force until 1947.
Phillip then attended and graduated from the Omaha Baptist College in Omaha. After taking further work at the American Biblical Seminary of Chicago, Ill., he received a Theology Bachelor's degree and also a Master's degree. In May, 2001, Phillip was conferred the honorary Doctor of Literature and Letters Degree from the Hardcourt College and Seminary in Pennsylvania for his 77 page thesis, "These Amazing Baptists: Their History, Heritage and Growth."
Phillip spent 10 years in church work in Nebraska. In 1961, he became the Clerk of County Court in Custer County for nine years. In 1970, he was elected District Court Clerk and served for six years. In November 1976, he became the Deputy District Court Clerk, then the District Court Bailiff and finally chose to retire in 1991.
Phillip has been a member of Custer County Historical Society, was a life member of the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Sod House Society, and has served on the Broken Bow Township Cemetery Board. He was a member of the American Legion Post in Broken Bow, a member of the B.P.O.E. Elks Lodge 1688, a member of the Royal Neighbors of America and was also a member of the Masons in Broken Bow. He was active in the Broken Bow High School Alumni.
Phillip was a member of the First Baptist Church in Broken Bow. He has served as Deacon, Vice Moderator, Sunday School Teacher and Choir Member.
In 1977, he was named as a "Notable Living Nebraskan" in the publication, "Who's Who In Nebraska."
Phillip loved history and spent many hours working at the Broken Bow Historical Museum recording many thousands of obituaries and biographies of Custer County people and many pages of history on Custer County.
In 1998, he was honored when the Custer County Historical Society named the genealogical department at the museum "The Phillip K. Gardner Genealogical Research Center."
He published a book, "How Our Hundred Happened, Broken Bow Centennial Book, 1880-1980" and has completed a yet unpublished updated version.
Phillip was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Richard.
Phillip passed away Sept. 6, 2010, at the Golden Living-Center.
He is survived by many cousins and a host of friends.
Funeral services were Oct. 9, 2010, in the First Baptist Church in Broken Bow with the Rev. Roger McDermott officiating. Burial was in the Broken Bow Cemetery.
Govier Brothers Mortuary of Broken Bow was in charge of the arrangements.
Memorials have been established to the First Baptist Church Building Fund, the Veterans Memorial or the Custer County Historical Society.