Thomas Michael Gardia
June 26, 1950 – June 6, 2015
Thomas Michael Gardia, a Minden resident, passed away from a sudden illness Saturday June 6, 2015, he was 64. Tom was surrounded by his wife of 25 years and children. Born June 26, 1950 in Lakewood, CA. and was preceded in death by his parents Tom and Ruth Gardia. Tom was raised a Catholic altar boy but itching to get out and explore the world, he joined the Army and served time in the Vietnam War. Tom was a great listener who had an exceptional ability to remain patient and compassionate in the toughest of situations. Tom converted this natural talent into a career in the mental health field. He served as a Psych Tech for the CA state hospitals in both Camarillo and Napa, a drug and alcohol counselor in Santa Barbara County, and was an active member with Ventura Crisis Team for emergency mental health situations. Upon retirement, he was the mail carrier at Heavenly Ski resort and volunteered with the local Minden Veteran’s Administration. Tom always lived life the way he wanted and was never afraid to say what was on his mind, he was a true rebel’s rebel. Tom always felt connected to the purity of nature, he had passion for fishing, camping, hiking, bike riding, gardening and tennis playing. He was an avid reader/writer who had a deep love of poetry and was the proud holder of a public library card for 60 years in good standing. Tom could often be heard rooting for his favorite baseball team the San Francisco Giants from 3 blocks away. He became a wine aficionado while living in Napa with his wife and soul mate of 32 years, Debbie Gardia, with whom he traveled the world, most recently to Monument Valley where they both rode on Mules. This trip touched Tom’s soul because of his passion and respect for the Native American Culture. Although not a religious man Tom always felt a spiritual connection to the Native American way of life. They would both attend Jazz festivals on the Russian River and Hollywood Bowl, which led Tom to the deranged belief that he could then play the trumpet. He is survived by all seven of his and Debbie’s’ children Rita Tracy (Chris Tracy), James Hatch, Brian Hatch (Emily Hatch), Michael Gardia, Rhiann Hatch, Lesley Gardia, Jolene Gardia. And their 10 beautiful grandchildren Jade Shields, Melissa Tracy, Gavin Hatch, Camryn Hatch, Jordyn Hatch, Vincent Jefferson, Lucas Tracy, Kaelynn Gardia, Bryce Gardia, and Ryland Hopkins. His children and grandchildren were his greatest accomplishment. Tom was the oldest of his siblings he is survived by his brother and best friend Bob Gardia (Mary Gardia), sister Mary-Ann Vagenas, and sister Jayne Badders and his in-laws, father Ben Pritchard (Dottie Pritchard), sister Joyce Rios (Mark Rios), and brothers Joe Hagan and Dan Pritchard. To quote one of Tom’s literary icons Ernest Hemingway, “Live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual.” Tom will live on in our hearts and souls. A Celebration of his life will be held in his hometown Gardnerville, NV at Lampe Park Pavilion on his birthday June 26, 2015 at 3pm.