Date of Birth
Date of Death
PHILLIP "Phil" J. Gardner, age 28, of DeKalb, formerly of Batavia, passed away tragically following a car accident on Sunday, September 11, 2011. BORN: He was born November 9, 1982 in the Geneva, IL, the son of John "Jack" Gardner and Kim McGuire. EARLY YEARS:Phil grew up in Batavia and attended local schools. He graduated from Batavia High School with the class of 2001. RESIDENTIAL HISTORY: A few years out of high school, Phil wanted to stand on his own so he moved out of his parents house and lived in both DeKalb and St. Charles over the next several years, most recently living with friends in DeKalb. OCCUPATION / WORK HISTORY:Phil worked his best magic behind a keyboard, his fingers a blur typing code, loading programs and fixing bugs with ease. His most recent job was "IT Manager" for his father’s family business, Gardner Products in Rochelle, IL, as well as his mother’s, Creative Kernals in Yorkville, IL. LIFE NOTES: From the day he was born Phil displayed a stubborn streak that was only matched by his caring heart. His stubbornness helped to foster a special kind of determination that Phil needed to live with and then through life’s adversity when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cataracts at birth. It was so rare, only one other case has been found in the United States. A debilitating side effect was glaucoma at age six which emerged with a vengeance. Many laser surgeries as well as special lenses were needed to overcome his loss of sight but that never stopped him from trying anything he set his heart to. When he was younger, baseball called to his heart and later it was a myriad of subjects including hydroponics, gardening and brewing beer. Each subject received Phil’s laser focus and soon he built a garden in his basement, a self-sustaining aquarium and his own hand crafted beer. He also brought his mom along for the ride, helping her hone special popcorn recipes, and even naming one for himself, "Phil’s Famous", that helped begin her own gourmet popcorn business, Creative Kernals. Phil also enjoyed family vacations and trips to Mississippi where he swam in Uncle Jr.’s and Aunt Peggy’s pool, riding cousin Jimmy’s horse and fishing in Cousin Tom’s pond. He also had a special relationship with his grandpa who formed a special bond with Phil and accompanied him during the many surgeries and doctors visits. Through it all, Phil met many people from many walks of life, some more colorful than others, but none were judged and all came to call him friend. This was especially true with children. It wasn’t uncommon for Phil to wrestle with his nieces and nephews, as well as his step-sister Sarah. Maybe it was the "kid" in him that they recognized, but all would flock to his side during family functions. Phil had a special touch when it came to his fellow man as well. He had a special way about him that was uniquely his, the imprint of which will last a lifetime on the hearts of all who knew and loved him. SURVIVORS: He is survived by his parents: Kim (Jeff) McGuire of Plano, IL and Jack (Debbie Younglove) Gardner of Oregon, IL;One brother, Eric (Dani Grote) Gardner of Sycamore, ILTwo step brothers:Sean McGuire of Chicago, IL and Garrett McGuire of Palatine, IL;One step-sister, Sarah Younglove of Oregon, IL;Maternal grandparents, Bob and Penny Johnson; Paternal grandparents, Jack and Sharon Gardner;Many aunts, uncles, cousins and a family of friends.PRECEDED:He is preceded in death by his cousin Michael York. VISITATION / FUNERAL Visitation will be from 2-6p.m., Sunday, September 18, 2011, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral to celebrate his life will be held Monday, September 19, also at Conley Funeral Home, at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn. MEMORIAL In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit his favorite charities. Checks may be made to the "Phil Gardner Memorial" and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.
VISITATION / FUNERAL Visitation will be from 2-6p.m., Sunday, September 18, 2011, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral to celebrate his life will be held Monday, September 19, also at Conley Funeral Home, at 11 a.m.
Interment will follow at Blackberry Township Cemetery, Elburn.