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Willis "Buster" Gardner

May 29, 1937 August 10, 2021
Willis "Buster" Gardner
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Obituary for Willis "Buster" Gardner

Willis D. “Buster the Babe” Gardner, 83, of Elyria passed away Tuesday August 10, 2021 at his home following a brief illness. He was born in Penfield Township and was an Oberlin resident for most of his life. Buster retired from Dunlap’s Garage, where he worked as a mechanic and heavy tow truck driver for 45 years. He was the only licensed Babe Ruth look-a- like in the country, traveled throughout the United States with the Babe Ruth League, and visited Cooperstown annually for 28 years to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. Buster appeared on the “Big Chuck and Little John” television show, was an extra in the movie “The Babe”, and formerly served as Grand Marshall of the Woolybear Festival. He was a member of the Oberlin V.F.W. Post 6273 and the Wellington American Legion and enjoyed golfing and watching W.W.E. wrestling with his favorite tag-team partner Cecile. Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Cecile (nee-Crittenden); daughters, Ronda (Don) Trigg and Renea Gardner; son, George H. Gardner; 9 grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sisters, Mariette Shank and Jane (Dick) Hufstedler; brothers, Russell (Charlotte) Gardner and Butch (Debbie) Gardner. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Rita Pritt, son, Michael Gardner, and parents, George and Katherine Gardner. The family will receive friends Monday 3:00-7:00 p.m. at the Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home and Cremation Services 38475 Chestnut Ridge Rd. (at State Rt. 57), Elyria. Services will be Tuesday August 17, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in the funeral home. Rev. Robert Shank Jr., Buster’s nephew will Officiate. Burial will be at River Road Cemetery, LaGrange Township. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be expressed at

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Previous Events





3:00 PM 8/16/2021 3:00:00 PM - 7:00 PM 8/16/2021 7:00:00 PM
Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home

38475 Chestnut Ridge
Elyria, OH 44035

Funeral Service Tuesday August 17, 2021 in the funeral home

Laubenthal-Mercado Funeral Home
38475 Chestnut Ridge Elyria 44035 OH
United States

Cemetery Details


River Rd. (LaGrange) Final Resting Place

Indian Hollow Rd.
LaGrange, OH 44050

Indian Hollow Rd. LaGrange 44050 OH
United States

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