Bob Gardner

June 8, 1948 – August 28, 2014


Bob Gardner was one of the great minds in AIDS ACTION NOW! around strategy, especially after CATIE was formed, George and I moved to what was initially called the TIE Project. We were calling it CATIE internally, even right after it formed. We just didn’t tell outsiders of the name until we got the legal documentation accepted. We also picked that name because it was a woman’s name, and we wanted to point out subtly some of the deficiencies in the activist movement, which is largely run by men – gay men – and didn’t deal with women’s issues. So that was the whole agenda of that. … Linda [Gardner – Bob’s wife] was more involved, and then eventually Bob and Linda… Bob came on the board and was there for many years. And Bob and Linda made a wonderful contribution, but after 1999- 2000, they were getting burnt out. It was time for them to move on. So, they were granted honorary life memberships on the CATIE board, but they had to move on.
– Sean Hosein (AAHP transcript, p. 31-32)

Photo: Bob Gardner is second front left alongside other AIDS ACTION NOW! members (Retrieved from AAHP archives)

And I think we also, if you look at AAN! as a whole, we were lucky we had a number of people who had worked in government that could write our briefs and stuff. So, we had a heads up, or that had worked with media, that type of thing, right. … And I think we were very lucky that we had people that you could hear break it down to ninety seconds for what we can get of our message across. I guess he doesn’t work for the government anymore, but Bob Gardner could certainly… his knowledge was more help than we could ever imagine because he gave a leg up before we ever started any brief.
– Brent Southin (AAHP transcript, p. 31)

Bob Gardner for example, who just died he was working at the time in the provincial legislative library doing research for parliamentarians, so he knew what people were talking about in Parliament. So, he was our conduit like, our back door, our mole. But he also produced documents for us and knew how those documents needed to look to be accepted at different levels. He was an incredible resource.
– Tim McCaskell (AAHP transcript, p. 41)

Bob Gardner died recently – one of those folks who is a tremendous example of an ally. A straight guy who just took on this because as he took on choice, as he took on anti-racism, as he took on all kinds of things and worked his butt off on it, and always respectfully, and died quite recently.
– Glen Brown (AAHP transcript, p. 41)


Bob Gardner
Photo – Mark Freamo, Bob Gardner (hiding in the middle), and unknown (left to right)

So, one, it was always the responsibility of the state to keep prisoners healthy regardless oftheir behavior because they’re always going to behave the way they behave. What’s going on in prison is not a lot different than what’s going on in the streets. So, we put that political package together and I remember having long conversations with Bob Gardner too around what was the provincial strategy that AIDS ACTION NOW! had when it came to trials and treatments and access to whatever we were demanding at the time; to really shadow it completely, to make the links.
– Julia Barnett (AAHP Transcript, p. 10)

To learn more about Bob Gardner, we invite you to check out our Toronto interviews. We invite you to read our interviews with Glen Brown, Sean Hosein, Tim McCaskell, Julia Barnett, Brent Southin and Darien Taylor. We also invite you to peruse memories of Bob in our Omeka collection.