We are sad to announce the passing of Freda (Imogene) Gard, 90, who died suddenly at her home June 24, 2023, in Ozark, Missouri. Imogene known locally as the "cookie lady" was loved by many and will be missed everyday.
Imogene was born July 14, 1932, in Senath, Missouri to Robert and Ollie (McLain) Reynolds. She grew up in a huge loving family which she adored. She graduated Class of 50 from Poplar Bluff High School. She met and married Victor Derl Gard in 1951. Together they had two sons, Robert (Bobby) Paul and Darrell Eugene (Gene). The family lived in Eugene, Oregon for a while but eventually settled in St. Charles, Missouri.
Imogene loved her boys and stayed home with them until they started school. She worked part time as a cook at their elementary school and later part time at the local Ben Franklin store. In 1970 the family moved to Branson, Missouri and were co-owners/operators of The English Inn (a historical landmark in Hollister, MO). In 1972, they moved back to St Charles where she worked as office manager at Hackman Lumber until she retired in 1994. After retirement Imogene moved to Ozark, MO. to be near family.
Retirement certainly didn't slow her down, she became a volunteer for Hospice Compassus in Branson putting in over 4500 hours. She also volunteered at North Park Village Senior Living in Ozark and Ravenwood in Springfield MO. Not only did she assist with activities, but she regularly made homemade cookies for residents and staff. That is where "the cookie lady" legend began. One day she had a minor issue with her car enroute to her volunteer job. She was stopped along the road with the hood up on her car and an Ozark Police Department Officer came by and offered her a helping hand. After getting her back on the road Imogene thanked the officer and promised to bring cookies by as thank you. True to her word she took a plate of her chocolate chip cookies to the Police Station. That is when she found out that there were 3 shifts, and 1 plateful wasn't enough. She then made the commitment to treat all the shifts. That grew from a 1-time commitment into an event every holiday. Her delicious cookies and cakes became famous and soon she was making cookies for her doctors' offices, family reunions, hospice office parties, her insurance agents, the church she attended, fund raisers and of course her family and many friends.
Imogene was preceded in death by her husband Victor Derl Gard, her parents Robert and Ollie Reynolds, her brother Jerald and his wife Lela Reynolds and her youngest brother William (Dub) Reynolds. She is survived by her 2 sons, Robert Gard (wife Janet), Gene Gard (wife Jacki); her 7 grandchildren Vanessa Egler (husband Fred), Matthew Gard, Eric Gard (wife Maria), Nathan Gard, Destinee Gard, Andrew Gard (wife Ambria) and James Gard; her 10 great grandchildren; Tyler Buck, Cadee Price Gard (Leon), Kelby Gard, Liam Loman (Trinity), Journey Beckman, Keenan Loman, Kai Gard, Logan Gard, Lillian Gard, and Willow Gard; and one great great grandchild, Reign Loman.
Imogene loved the Lord; she rarely missed church and studied her Bible daily. She treasured her church family and was such an encourager to everyone who knew her. We (the family) have many special memories of her loving and caring for us. She loved us all and made sure we knew how much she cared.
There is a huge hole in our hearts as we will miss her so much. But we know that she is on that heavenly journey and will be with her Lord.
Memorials may be made in Imogene's name to Sparta Church of Christ; 165 Scott St, Sparta, MO 65753.