Kristina “Kristi” Lynn Mathis Gardner, 53 gained her angel wings, at 4:30 p.m. on Christmas Day, December 25, 2019 at Life’s Journey of Avon after a fierce battle with breast cancer. She was born to Charles (Chuck) and Halina (Nidunow) Mathis on July 8, 1966. Kristi graduated from Benton Central in 1984 and got an Associate’s degree from Vincennes University. She also received a BS in 2012 and a Master’s of Human Resources Development in 2017 at Indiana State University, Terre Haute. Kristi was a church secretary for a short time at Otterbein United Methodist Church and last worked in Human Resources at Zionsville Meadows Nursing facility in Zionsville. She worked in several nursing facilities over several years. Kristi married R. Craig Gardner and they later divorced. Then she met her significant other Steve Vanderipe who has been with her for several years. Kristi was a caring and loving person for geriatric patients and also loved animals. She adored her beloved dog Blue. She got to go with her mother across country to Reno, Nevada on the Amtrak California Zephyr to visit her brother and family and had a fabulous time. Kristi loved trains and cruises and enjoyed several destinations. She was artistic and enjoyed crafts. Kristi is survived by her parents and sister Traci Narducci (Dave), of Jupiter, Florida and her brother Denny Mathis (Michelle) of Reno, Nevada. She loved her nieces to the moon and back, Caybree Layton (Josh), of Lafayette, Ceirsten Mathis, of Lafayette, Sydney Narducci and Cameron Narducci, of Jupiter, Florida. Kristi was beyond thrilled to get to meet her great niece, Addison Mae Layton. She had a very special bond with her aunt Mary Kirts (George) and her good friend and shopping pal, Ellen Wright. Kristi also had other aunts Anna Comer (Sonny), Joyce Johnston (Sam) and Linda McDivitt (Wes) who cared for her deeply and were some of her best prayer warriors. She also had a lot of cousins who she kept in touch with. Kristi also had a dear friend Laury Wallace of Brownsburg, Indiana who was always there for her through thick and thin and one of the most caring and kind souls on this earth that always had her back; their nicknames for each other were Jerome and Pearl. Laury tried so hard to get her to her hospice facility, Life’s Journey in Avon, IN and as she was brought through the door and Laury was there to greet her she knew it was time as the angels came to get her. Kristi was preceded in death by her grandparents who she adored, Nick and Natalie Nidunow and Winfield and Agnes Mathis. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved her. Thanks to Dr. Birhiray, St Vincent Cancer Center and staff at St. Vincent. Visitation will be on Friday, January 3, 2020 at the Otterbein United Methodist Church from 9:30-11:00 a.m. Celebration of Life will be there at the church at 11:00 a.m. with Pastor Ben Cassiday officiating. Memorial contributions can be made to Animal Protection League, Inc., Indiana at 613 Dewey Street, Anderson, IN 46016 (where she got her beloved dog, Blue) or Otterbein United Methodist Church, 405 East Oxford St., Otterbein, IN 47970. Online condolences may be made at www.gradyfuneralhome.com.
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