N. Marshall Gardner

October 25, 1928 ~ August 4, 2020

Marshal Gardner, 91, Sioux Falls, died Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at Ava’s House in Sioux Falls, after a lengthy illness.

Visitation with family present will be 5pm-7pm, Monday, August 10, 2020, at Heartland Funeral Home, with Masonic Rites at 7pm.  Private burial to follow at Hills of Rest, Sioux Falls, on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, with Full Military Honors.

In lieu of flowers, Donations to the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital are requested.

N. Marshall Gardner was born on October 25, 1928 to Alton and Aura (Moore) Gardner in Sioux Falls, where he was raised. He left for World War II at the age of 17 when he joined the Navy. He married Mary Ellen Germany in 1949, and to that union, they had three children, Janice, Pam and Craig. After the war, Marshall started Gardner’s Hardware in Worthing, SD. He built race cars in the back. This property is now the Worthing Dinner Theater. Later, he moved back to Sioux Falls and started Champion Gas Station on 14th & Cliff Ave. He sold life insurance for New York Life, sold cars for Jay Shon Chevrolet and Duke Tufty, and also sold mobile homes at his company, Gardner Trailer Sales. He later moved to Garretson and owned Jesse James Gas. He delivered parts for several companies in Sioux Falls, retiring at the age of 82. Marshall will be remembered for his great passion for racing and for starting Huset’s Speedway with Til Huset. Once he retired from racing, he enjoyed boating and camping with his family, and loved making fun memories at Lake Madison and Oakwood Lake.

Marshall was an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sioux Falls when his children were growing up. He also was a member of the Optimist Club, the Mason’s, and the Shriner’s in the Clown Unit. He was a member of the Sport’s Car Club. Marshall loved antique cars, and had quite a collection.

Marshall will be deeply missed by his two daughters, Janice Falk, Sioux Falls, and Pamela Larson, Sioux Falls; five grandchildren, Rachael Larson, Sarah Larson, Lena Larson Neeman, Rob Falk and Peter Falk; seven great-grandchildren, Ronnie Larson, Sadie Beck, Matt Tanksley, Lilly Tanksley, Nathaniel Neeman, Sophie Neeman and Sierra Lynde; two great-great-grandchildren, Kaydence and Ayla.

Marshall was preceded in death by his parents; his son, Craig Gardner; four siblings, Paul Gardner, Alice Thompsen, Chuck Gardner and Keith Gardner; his grandson, Matthew Larson; and great-great granddaughter, Alliah Larson.

Because of his positive attitude toward life, he made a difference every day for anyone that would have the good fortune to cross his path.

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  • Steven W Knape says:

    Pam,
    I’m very sorry to read this about your Dad. Although I know you and your Mom from the Grain Bin, Marshall I knew as we were clowns together in the Shrine back in the late 80s. So many of the “old” guys have gone on, now. I enjoyed your Dad, he had a good heart and I always enjoyed visiting with him. I hope you are well, and the warm memories will temper your grief.

    Steve Knape

  • Jane Freeman says:

    Oh Dear Marshall, You touched my heart in the deepest way. Your uplifting attitude was always a day brightener to so many. I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to meet you. It was an honor to care for you; a true American HERO!

  • Connie Gaspar Bohl says:

    My deepest sympathy to all of the family! As a Garretsonite and also a Helping Hand employee, I enjoyed Marshall and his humor, stories and his nature in general. May he Rest In Peace and comfort and prayers help you through this difficult time!

  • Loren Whitney says:

    Marshall was one of my heroes for most of my life. He and my uncle, Claude Canfield, were partners for several years in building and racing cars at Soo Speedway and Huset’s.
    he Huset’s Speedway Hall of Fame, “Marshall Gardner started his driving career in 1950 in Pipestone, Minnesota, driving a Ford coupe for Al Fiedler. In 1952 he became a driver / owner, building his first of many Plymouth coupes. Gardner always ran a Plymouth coupe, usually painted black and yellow and numbered either ‘191’, ‘161’ , ‘9’ or ‘6’. He was the 1954 and 1955 track champion at Soo Speedway east of Sioux Falls, and in one stretch in 1954, he won 12 features out of 14 starts between Soo and Huset’s Speedways.
    Gardner was very instrumental in assisting Til Huset when the new Huset’s Speedway was first started, and competed in the first feature at Huset’s on May 23, 1954, finishing in 5th position. Gardner was among the first to realize the importance of good press for the fledgling sport of stock car racing and encouraged professional behavior among his fellow racers. He visited the newspapers, radio and TV stations to put a positive spin on stock car racing and was also an early day showman. He once dressed as a woman and won a special ‘powder-puff’ event, peeling off the dress in the victory lane celebration. Gardner retired from driving in 1961 and has remained a solid supporter of Huset’s Speedway in the ensuing years.”
    I spent many hours sitting in the 191 or the 6 pretending that I was Marshall and racing around the dirt ovals. That experience led to a lifetime interest in race cars and mechanics in general.
    Through contact with Sarah Larson, Marshall’s grand daughter, I had the opportunity to meet with Marshall in November of 2019 and had a great visit discussing the “old times”. He told me lots of tricks that they used to make the old Plymouths not only go fast but turn left.
    He was truly one of my heroes. And I will miss him.

  • Denny Oviatt says:

    Our world lost a great man with Marshall’s passing. He was one of my favorites, whether in racing or in the business world. We had many fun times together going over ‘the old days’. His humor was always something to look forward to when we were together. Rest in peace, my friend.

  • Roberta kirkeby says:

    My deepest sympathy to his family and may they always know that no matter what kind of day I was having that when I walked in the door at Helping Hands he always had the biggest smile on his face and I loved seeing him and always had time when I came in his room for a story and the rooster one I will never forget!! He saw good in everyone and always found a way to make everyone smile and he will be deeply be missed but one thing for sure is that he lived life everyday and no matter what…his smile was contagious! I am so sorry for such a loss.

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