Robert Charles "R. C." Garner passed away Tuesday, March 25, 2008, from complications of congestive heart failure.
He was born in Bertrand, Mo., July 20, 1916, to Gladys Fields and Orville Garner. He moved to Cape Girardeau at the age of 5 and resided there until he moved to Lehigh Acres, Fla., in November 1976.
He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, the former Betty Ford Barker, whom he married May 2, 1967; and a stepson, Douglas Barker of Lyons, Colo.
He married his high school sweetheart, Naomi Day, June 14, 1940. To this union four children were born, all of whom survive: Pamela (Bob) Miller of Woodlawn, Ill., Robert C. "Bob" (Ann) Garner Jr. of Barnhart, Mo., Gary (Peggy) Garner of Cape Girardeau, and Belinda (Jim) Goggin of Cape Girardeau. He also leaves 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Christine Nelson.
After graduating from school he worked for Little River Drainage Co. as a surveyor.
He was inducted into the U.S. Army to serve his country during World War II Dec. 21, 1943. He was a member of the 680th Engineer Topographical Company. He served in England, France, Belgium and Germany. He was discharged April 14, 1946, having served 28 months with 16 of them being in overseas service.
On Feb. 10, 1947, he and his Uncle E.C. Clinton became partners and purchased Ozark Welding Supply Co. in Cape Girardeau. In 1951 he acquired his uncle's interest and became sole owner. He then formed a corporation and the name was changed to OzARC/GAS Equipment and Supply Inc.
He also formed another corporation, Area Oxygen Corp., and established stores in other towns in his territory. Since his territory was quite extensive, he purchased a Tri-Pacer airplane and learned to fly in order to visit and better serve his customers.
In November 1976 he and his wife Betty retired and moved to Lehigh Acres, leaving his sons, Bob and Gary, to assume full operation of the firms and later selling them the businesses which they continue to own and operate.
In 1977 he purchased an Airco Distributorship in Mount Vernon, Ill., and two years later sold it to his son-in-law and daughter, Bob and Pam Miller.
After retiring to Florida, R.C. and Betty traveled around the U.S., Mexico, Europe and the Scandinavian countries in their RV. They enjoyed and took many cruises and other trips to foreign countries.
He is a past president of Exchange Club of Cape Girardeau, past commander of VFW Post 3838 of Cape Girardeau, past treasurer of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Club of Cape Girardeau, 50-year-plus member of Masonic Lodge, past vice president of National Welding Supply Association, past president of Everglades, Fla., Unit of Wally Byam Air Stream RV Club, past president of Missouri Club of Lehigh Acres and a member of First Community Congregational United Church of Christ of Lehigh Acres, where he was a past chairman of the Diaconate Committee.
His endearing kindness and good sense of humor will be missed by all.
Friends may call from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home.
The funeral will be 2 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home, with the Rev. Sam Roethemeyer officiating. Entombment will be in Cape County Memorial Park Mausoleum with military rites conducted by VFW Post 3838.
Pallbearers will be grandsons Michael Beattie, James Garner, Tim Miller, Larry Miller, Corey Garner and Nicholas Garner.