Commissioners declare Herb Gardner Day

(Photo: Herb Gardner is pictured with his wife, Anne Gardner.)


For his longtime dedication to building a stronger Malaga community, Herb Gardner was honored on July 26 by Chelan County commissioners, who proclaimed a day in his honor.

Herb Gardner Day will be celebrated on May 10, 2023, according to a proclamation passed by the Board of County Commissioners. The day marks Gardner’s birthday.

Gardner, who is perhaps best known for his work with Malaga Domestic Water and the Malaga Colockum Community Council, has been a decades-long volunteer for the small community south of Wenatchee.

“Herb is the guy at the Malaga park fertilizing or mowing the grass,” said Commissioner Kevin Overbay, a longtime friend of Gardner’s and also a Malaga resident. “He has taken on those responsibilities – big and small – that other people benefit from now and will well into the future. To be able to reflect upon my friend and his contributions to our community is truly an honor and a privilege.”

Born in Wenatchee, Gardner moved to Malaga in 1958 as an eighth-grader. There he met his classmate and future wife, Anne Courtney Gardner. The pair taught around the world before returning to Malaga in 1972 to raise their family.

“His worldview is that everyone should do what they can to help out the community through money or volunteering,” wrote his family in a statement. “Since he decided not to pursue material wealth, he gave very freely of his time.”

Gardner, who was awarded Malaga Citizen of the Year in 2000 and 2006, has served in several leadership roles in the Malaga community. Among them:

  • He was a longtime board member and later manager of Malaga Domestic Water. Among his contributions in that role was attracting more than $3 million in state and federal grants and low interest loans to fund the expansion of safe water in Malaga. After retiring from the manager position, he returned to the board as its chairman.
  • He was manager of the Lake Wenatchee, Peshastin, East Monitor and Alpine Water districts.
  • He served for eight years on the Chelan County Water Conservancy Board.
  • He served eight years on the Link Citizen Advisory Board.

“There isn’t anything in the Malaga community that you can say doesn’t have Herb’s fingerprint on it in some way or another,” Overbay said. “His dedication to making his community a better place to live is inspiring. Personally, he has been a steadfast resource for me now and even before I was a commissioner.”

On a more personal level, the Gardner family hosted several exchange students over the years from Japan, Malaysia, Germany, Spain and Tanzania. Gardner also was an active volunteer in Boy Scouts and 4H when his children were young.

“Herb and Anne would take (exchange students) on trips out to the Colockum Game Preserve to see elk and the beauty of Chelan County,” his family wrote.

Health issues prevented Gardner, who recently was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, from attending the July 26 meeting. Commissioner Overbay presented him with the proclamation at Gardner’s home in Malaga. Gardner passed away July 27.

Last Updated: 09/02/2022 08:44 AM

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