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Ark. Cable Exec Gardner Dies at 56

Paul Gardner -- who, with his father, P.Q. Gardner Sr., created the largest independent cable operation in Arkansas -- was laid to rest Wednesday in Monticello, Ark.

The family started Community Communications of Monticello in their hometown in 1972, and the company expanded through system acquisitions into a 15,000-subscriber provider, recalled Bill Copeland, regional vice president of Mediacom Communications Corp. and a former Community Communications employee.

Gardner was also the owner of Community News Network and a past president and “Man of the Year” of the Arkansas Cable Association.

Copeland said Gardner, 56, was informed by physicians 18 months ago that he had contracted cancer.

"They didn't give him 18 months to live, but he fought the great fight as he always has," Copeland added.

At his funeral June 7, he was carried to his rest by a phalanx of pallbearers from among the ranks of independent operators, Copeland said.

Gardner is survived by his parents; his wife, Donna; two sisters; two sons; a stepson; and a granddaughter.