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Las Vegas shooting victim: Dana Gardner, Grand Terrace, California

Updated October 3, 2017 - 5:40 pm

Dana Gardner spent her last day of life taking in the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip.

Her Grand Terrace, California hometown friend, Eric Templeton, is a local DJ who arranged the after-parties for the group of about 15 friends and family who came for the Route 91 Harvest festival that weekend.

Templeton said they loved it.

He and his best friend — Gardner’s boyfriend — stayed out with Gardner and her daughter Kayla until about 5:30 a.m., he said.

“It was really hard for Dana and her daughter, because they weren’t used to going to a bar and club after two o’clock at night,” he said. “Everything in California closes at 1:30 a.m.”

Fewer than 24 hours later, Gardner was among the 58 shot and killed in the attack on the festival on Oct. 1.

Gardner, 52, was a longtime San Bernardino County government employee who is remembered as a hard worker and selfless friend.

“Our mom was an amazing human being and she stood for everything good in the world,” her daughter, Kayla Gardner, said in a statement. “She had a contagious smile that would light up a room and a sense of humor that would make everyone laugh.”

Templeton said she always had a smile on her face — but she wasn’t big on taking pictures.

Over 300 people showed up for a memorial service Saturday in the Grand Terrace park where, coincidentally, Gardner received her first kiss, Templeton said.

Gardner was a deputy recorder and worked for the county for 26 years, county spokesman David Wert said. Gardner’s boss, Bob Dutton, said she will be missed.

“She was somebody I could trust to get the job done, and she always put the interest of the people of San Bernardino County first,” Dutton said. “She had a wealth of knowledge and a can-do attitude. … You can’t replace somebody like that.”

At least four of Gardner’s coworkers, including a sergeant in the county sheriff’s office and a fire department employee, were wounded in the attack, Wert said.

As her three children grew older, Gardner stopped worrying about taking care of them and started to take care of herself, her daughter said.

“She started traveling, spending time with her friends, and enjoying her life the way she wanted,” Kayla Gardner said. “As her children it was so enjoyable to see her so vibrant and full of life, and that is how we will always remember her.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477- 3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter. Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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