Ray Gardner walked on after long illness on Tuesday, February 2015
MENLO, WASHINGTON — Ray Gardner, chairman of the Chinook Indian Nation, walked on Tuesday due to complications with a lung disease. Chairman Gardner was 59.
The Chinook Indian Nation, based in Bay Center, Washington, is a state recognized tribe in the State of Washington. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in Benghazi was an enrolled tribal member of the Chinook Nation.
Due to his extended illness, Gardner took a leave of absence from the tribal chair position on October 12, 2013. He served his tribal council for 13 years, where he worked diligently to have the Chinook Nation receive federal acknowledgement.
“For the past three years, I have lived with a condition known as Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, and it has come to the point where I must focus my time and energy on beating this disease,” he said soon after taking his leave of absence from being chair of the Tribe.
“I have dedicated 13 years on the Chinook Council, and I feel that I am not done yet with my work. Issues such as federal restoration, elder care, and creating financial stability for our people are important to me, and I intend to be around to help make these a reality,” Gardner continued.
In addition to his tribal leadership position, Gardner was a transportation specialist with the State of Washington where he worked for 24 years. Additionally, he served on the Marina Resource Committee and executive board of American Rivers, a national conservation group.
During his reign as tribal chairman, Gardner was instrumental to have the Chinook Nation’s Middle Village included within Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
Funeral arrangements were pending at publication time.