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Keith R. Gartner -- Preston

PRESTON -- The funeral for Keith R. Gartner, a former Preston mayor and city council member, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Preston United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Carolyn Westlake officiating. Burial will be in Preston United Methodist Cemetery.

Mr. Gartner, 78, of Preston, a retired Preston Creamery employee and former mayor, died Wednesday (April 7, 2004) at his home following a lengthy illness.

He was born Nov. 8, 1925, on a farm near Chatfield and later moved with his family to a farm in the Preston area. He attended Chatfield schools through his junior year and graduated from Preston High School in 1944. On Dec. 7, 1946, he married Donna Bestor of Greenleafton in Preston. They lived on his family's farm until moving into Preston in 1955. He worked at the Preston Creamery for 33 years, and after retiring, worked for the city in park maintenance for several years. He was chairman of Minnesota Dairy Processors for three years and was a past president and treasurer for District 5 Dairy Processors.

He served on the Preston City Council for four years and was mayor for eight years. While mayor, he was involved with the development of the Branding Iron, Day Activity Center, Fillmore Place and the Preston Ambulance Service. Mr. Gartner was a member of city and county planning and zoning for 19 years, served on the Community Education board, Preston Public Utilities Commission and Fillmore County Cancer board, and was an ambulance attendant for seven years. He was a member of the Preston Lions for 42 years, a member of the Preston Area Community Foundation and a member of Preston United Methodist Church, where he was a past chairman of the board and an usher for a number of years. He enjoyed music and sports.

Survivors include his wife; a daughter, Patricia Mattson of Peterson; two sons, David (Jan) of Stewartville and Randy (Lori) of Rochester; 11 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a brother, Clair (Marian) of Chatfield; and a sister, Marietta (Glenn) Fjerstad of Isle, Minn.

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Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Thauwald Funeral Home in Preston and an hour before the service Saturday at the church.

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