Virginia Jane Cozad Gardiner was born at home in Martin, South Dakota, on February 5, 1924, to James and Vinetta Cozad. She died peacefully at Morningstar Assisted Living in Rapid City, on January 22, 2012.
She attended school in Martin, graduated from Bennett County High School in 1941, and attended South Dakota State College Nursing School in Brookings for one semester. During World War II, she worked at the U.S. Navy Department Bureau of Ships in Washington, D.C. for one year, and returned to marry Sgt. James Ray Gardiner on February 16, 1943, in Gordon. They lived in Manhattan, Kansas for a few months, then she returned to Martin to live while Ray served in Europe during World War II. Their son James Carl was born in 1943. In 1945 Ray returned from Europe and they ranched north of Merriman for six years. Their daughter, RaeJean Virginia, was born in 1950. The next year they bought a ranch in Lacreek Valley southeast of Martin, and lived there for more than 50 years.
She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law James and Cindy Gardiner of Rapid City; daughter and son-in-law RaeJean and Mark Riesenberger of Sunnyvale, California; three grandsons, Daniel and Hazavet Reglado Morales Gardiner of Zihuatanejo, Mexico; Jeremy and Lucinda Gardiner of Rapid City; and Adam Gardiner of Brooklyn, New York; three great-grandsons Garret, Camren and Zachery Gardiner; three great-granddaughters Katelyn McGhan, Cindy Gardiner Reglado, and Allison Gardiner Reglado; one sister-in-law Opal Homersham; cousin Fred and Luella Cozad, nieces Patty Davidson, Peggy and Charles Harris, Kathleen Henos, Carolyn Robbins, Robin and Jon Lyons, Gwen and Brad Miller, Charlene Palmer, Leah Hamm, Marilyn and Jim Panza; and nephews Peter and Betty Mesteth Boyer, Joe Shebal, Carl Ireland, Donald and Sandy Drobny, Ronald and Linda Drobny, and Kenneth and Maureen Homersham.
She was preceeded in death by her parents, sisters Laverne, Louise, and Bonnie; niece Barbara Shebal and her beloved husband James Ray.
Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday January 27, 2012, at the First Presbyterian Church in Martin, and burial will take place immediately afterward in the Martin Cemetery.
A memorial has been established for the Cornerstone Rescue Mission in Rapid City and donations may be sent to Security First Bank, PO Box 669, Martin, SD 57551.
Bennett County Funeral Service was in charge of arrangements.