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Robert H. Gardner, 91, a prominent public relations executive and dedicated volunteer with a long history of community service, died April 2, 2005 of congestive heart failure at his home in Riverside.
Mr. Gardner was born in Austin on Chicago's West Side in 1913, and lived there until he was 13. His father, Harry Gardner, was vice president of Austin State Bank.

The Gardner family moved to Oak Park and Mr. Gardner attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, where he became editor of the school newspaper, the Trapeze. He attended Amherst College, graduating cum laude in 1936. By 1938, he had joined Ruthrauff and Ryan Advertising in Chicago, where he wrote radio commercials. In 1942, he moved to the Mitchell McKeown Organization, where he managed fundraising drives for the Orchestral Association and the Greek War Relief. He served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946.

As founding partner and chairman of Gardner Jones and Company, established in 1947, Mr. Gardner helped shape the fledgling field of public relations. The firm started with himself and co-founder, Scott Jones, and grew to about 40 employees, serving hundreds of clients. The firm was among the first to guide its client CEOs and CFOs in meetings with analyst groups to tell their company stories and communicate their business outlook. Clients included Abbott Laboratories, Allstate Insurance, Borg Warner, Green Giant, Miles Laboratories, Snap-On Tools, Sunbeam, Stone Container, and Waste Management, among many others. The two principals sold the firm in 1975 to Hill & Knowlton, and it became that firm's Chicago office.

Mr. Gardner remained at Hill & Knowlton as a consultant until 1979, when he retired and started a one-man firm called Special Assignment Public Relations, which he ran until the mid-1990s. His clients included the Northern Trust Bank

He served with the Public Relations Society of America as chairman of the counselors section and the accreditation board among other positions. He was also vice president of the Publicity Club of Chicago and taught the first course in public relations at Roosevelt University.

Mr. Gardner devoted many hours to volunteer work both during his career and after his retirement. He served as president of the Association House of Chicago and as vice president of the Youth Service Project. He offered advice to young businesses as part of the Service Corps of Retired Executives.

He served for several years on the board of the Oak Park Symphony and as a deacon, elder and council member at First United Church of Oak Park. At the time of his death, he was a member of Riverside Presbyterian Church, where his book reviews for the church newsletter were a popular feature. He was an accomplished bridge and chess player.

Robert Gardner is survived by two children, George S. (Gayle) Gardner, Elizabeth (Derrick Mancini) Gardner and one grandchild.

Services will be held at Riverside Presbyterian Church, 116 Barrypoint Rd., at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, April 16. In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Riverside Presbyterian Church Music Fund.

Evelyn Conway, 88, OP Arms resident
Evelyn Hardtke Conway (nee Helding), 88, of Oak Park, died March 29, 2005 at West Suburban Hospital. Born in Racine, Wis., she lived for many years in Wheeling before moving to the Oak Park Arms five years ago.

Mrs. Conway was the wife of the late Harry Conway and Charles Hardtke; the mother of Ray (Mary Ann) Hardtke and the late Thomas Conway; and the grandmother of Erin and Allison.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, April 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave. Arrangements were handled by P.M. Smith & Sons Funeral Home.

John Domschke, 38, former Phys. Ed. teacher at Holmes Elementary School
John Charles Domschke, Jr., 38, a coach and physical education teacher at Bartlett High School, died March 19, 2005 of pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Domschke taught physical education at Holmes Elementary School in Oak Park from 1994 to 1998, then moved to Barlett High School to be closer to his wife and two sons. In Bartlett, he coached the volleyball and swim teams in addition to teaching P.E.

He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; his sons, Riley and Nicholas; his mother, Judy; and his brothers, Jeff, Jim and Jay.

Services were held March 22. Anyone wishing to sign the online quest book can find it at

?#34;Compiled by Ken Trainor

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