It is with deep sadness that we announce the sudden, unexpected death of Micheal John Gartner on Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at the age of 59.


Micheal was predeceased by his parents John and Catherine Gartner, he is survived by his brother Murray (Irene), and sister Crystal (Mike) Bachand and their families.


Michael was born and raised in Winnipeg where he lived his entire life. Mike, though the eldest of three, was always a gentle brother, mentor and friend. As a family in younger years, we traveled and camped a lot, and spent many summers together at the lake, first huddled together in a small trailer, then in our family cottage. Mike loved the water: boating and fishing all summer long.


As kids, the winters were magical; we would slip our hockey sticks through the blades of our skates and head to Crescentwood CC, or grab our sleds in search of a hill. Friday night movies at the community centre were escapes in the winter, sitting on the floor of the gym with our sponge toffee, licorice   and pop, while we’d watch another great Disney adventure unfold; The Million-Dollar Duck, The Computer That Wore Tennis Shoes, Benji Come Home, and many other adventures.


Wherever Mike went, fun times followed. He had a love of movies and music which he shared with his brother and with cousins. As kids we spent many hours together with our music, planning and scrounging our allowance so we had enough to get a new record at the Woolco music shop, and buy some broken bulk candy too. Weekly trips downtown to movie theatres, arcades, the army surplus store, and the joke shop were regular and required stops. Great cycling adventures at the lake and in town were frequent and unscripted, no destination required


As we got older some of these adventures changed, but many remained into our teens.


Mike always loved and was fascinated by heavy machines, trucks, and the mechanics of them all. From his childhood, playing with big Tonka trucks, to his adolescence, spending hours looking at the show trucks at the annual World of Wheels shows. After his graduation his passion for trucks and sense of independence took him to the carnival. He worked for Conklin Shows when they came to town, a job that he liked so much he signed on for a year of traveling and working as a carnie. His time with Conklin gave him his first hands on taste for trucking, which later turned into his career. Mike drove long haul for many years, which meant he was gone for weeks or months at a time.  This separation from family was noticeable, but he was happy in his work and drove trucks for almost 20 years.


These were the happiest times. He used John and Cathys as home base for a while, breezing back into town for birthdays and Christmas and to unload long stories about the road.


As time went on, he moved out of home but remained close. When Dad passed, the closeness to his Mother became important for them both. It was evidenced in his daily conversations with her, their regular trips to Costco, and him joining in at family gatherings and Sunday dinners with the “Squids” as he affectionately referred to his nephews and nieces. Often there was a furry friend in tow; Meaghan and Dayze dog(s) were his loyal companions.


One fateful day while taking on another load, there was an accident which changed his life forever. His injuries forced him to give up trucking and immobilized him so much that he could not do physical work. For 15 years, he lived with and on disability, which did not stop him from being the same loyal, dedicated and generous Son, Brother and friend. Unfortunately, over time Mike’s physical abilities and general health declined. This last year was a challenge, as moving from his house of 20 years, to a condo was a big change, but it was a good thing. Unfortunately, health issues evolved leaving him in pain to the point that he no longer smiled or laughed like he did when we were kids. That was hard to see, and our helplessness to make it better for him was tragic but he understood and was grateful for everything that was done to help him.


I wish Mike was still here, as he was too young to go, but I am grateful that he is no longer in pain, he will again laugh & smile, enjoy his music and movies, and go for walks with his dog. For me Friday nights will forever be emptier; but we will all see him again, share our stories, play games, and laugh at a lot of bad jokes……


Funeral Service will be held on Friday, February 23 at 1:00 p.m. at St. Ignatius Church, 255 Stafford Street.  In lieu of flowers donations to Winnipeg Humane Society would be greatly appreciated.


Funeral Liturgy

1:00 pm
Friday, February 23, 2024
St. Ignatius Church
255 Stafford Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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