Paul E. Gardner, 81, died May 3, 2002, with his family at his side after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Mr. Gardner was born Sept. 4, 1920, on a farm in Hamburg, Iowa.

He left home in 1940 to work in the Lockheed aircraft factory in Burbank, Calif.

He returned to Iowa to marry Thelma Brown in 1943, then joined the Navy, serving on the heavy cruiser U.S.S. Louisville as an aviation metalsmith. He was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received in a kamikaze attack on his ship during the battle of Okinawa in June 1945.

After the war, he moved his family to California, where he retired from the auto body repair business in 1979. He moved to Oregon for a life of hunting and fishing. In 2000, as his health began to deteriorate, he returned to Santa Paula, Calif., to be closer to his children.

Survivors include his wife, Thelma; daughter and son-in-law, Paula and Jim Bridges of Santa Paula; son and daughter-in-law, Chuck and Marilyn Gardner of Lancaster, Calif.

Also surviving are grandchildren, Chris, Tony, Danny and Jenny; great-grandchildren, Isaiah, Joey, Jordan, Maddison, Jonathan and Pearson; brother, Ralph Gardner and his wife, Goldie of Paso Robles, Calif.