Fortuna City Councilwoman Linda Gardner has died after an extended illness, the city announced Monday.
“Our city mourns the loss of Councilmember Linda Gardner, a dedicated public servant throughout her life,” Fortuna Mayor Sue Long said. “She was a strong supporter of the Fortuna community, and (she) will be deeply missed by her City Council colleagues, and our city residents, business owners, key stakeholders, and staff.”
Gardner served on the Fortuna Planning Commission from 2011 until she was elected to the council in 2014. She died with her family by her side at Redwood Memorial Hospital on Saturday night, according to a city news release.
“She was a very good friend and we went to school together here in Fortuna,” Councilman Doug Strehl said in the release. “She always stayed in touch with Fortuna and came back often for the events. She allowed me to convince her to serve on the planning commission before becoming a city council member. She wanted to keep Fortuna the ‘Friendly City,’ she will be sorely missed.”
Gardner also served as a council liaison to the Fortuna Historical Commission, was involved in the Fortuna Garden Club and was on the board for the Fortuna Redwood AutoXpo.
“I enjoyed working with Linda. She truly cared about our City,” Fortuna Mayor Pro Tem Tami Trent said in the release. “She was a great asset to our Council and will be greatly missed.”
Gardner was born in Grass Valley, raised in Fortuna and graduated from Fortuna High School in 1967. She then graduated from Humboldt State University, and while her career took her away from Humboldt County, she returned to live here in her “retirement.”
“Linda was a strong and passionate leader,” Councilwoman Tiara Brown said in the release. “I valued most her caring attitude and real commitment to the citizens of Fortuna. I will miss her dearly.”
Flags have been lowered to half-staff at city of Fortuna facilities and per Gardner’s request, no services will be held. She requested that instead, if desired, donations may be made to the Fortuna Garden Club at P.O. Box 212, Fortuna, CA 95540.
“Linda’s death leaves a huge hole in our hearts, our city, and our community,” Long said. “She has been a tremendous leader in this community, and truly deserves much credit for helping improve the quality of life in Fortuna. I am blessed to have known her and developed a special friendship and bond with her over the last few years. My life is better because she was part of it, and I am heartbroken. Our hearts and prayers go out to her family and friends.”
Times-Standard staff writer Hunter Cresswell also contributed to this report.