(12-10-21) On Thursday the Hoosier Gym’s event coordinator Bob Garner passed away from COVID.
In 2020, Garner wrote “Hoosiers: Eleven Life Lessons” a short book that re-enacts scenes, characters, and lines from the movie, then details a life lesson.
From his book’s web site about Bob– 11 Life Lessons –
Robert “Bob” Garner is the Events Coordinator at The Hoosier Gym & Director of the annual Hoosiers Reunion All-Star Classic. He graduated from Knightstown High School, & attended Indiana Central College. He spent his professional career in the medical field.
He saw Hoosiers for the first time in 1986. His love of the movie began that night at the Castle Theatre. He also has a vivid memory, from that first showing, of seeing Mrs. Mayhill sitting in the bleachers as an extra. He knew that had it not been for her efforts the movie would not have been filmed in the KHS gym.
He returned to to the Hoosier Gym for the first time in 50 years in 2015, to do a charity bike ride for the Sjogrens Society in the memory of his wife Jennifer. He now considers it his second home. He has now seen the movie more times than he can count.
During the five years since his return, his love of the movie has grown, as has a greater appreciation of the amazing Angelo Pizzo script, and the Eleven Life Lessons contained within.
Meeting visitors, he became inspired to attempt to write this book. The inspiration came from what Hoosiers meant to him and as he observed the impact, the movie had on so many others.
What did the Hoosier Gym mean to Bob?
Neil Shaneyfelt, a board member of the Hoosier Gym, said it best in an Indianapolis Star story –
“He was just so much involved with the gym from the start. He just jumped in with both feet and devoted all his time to the gym. There is going be a huge void for us to fill.
“He gave everything to that gym.”
His last major event was less then a month ago.
On November 20, 2021, the Hoosier Gym honored the Hickory Players from the movie Hoosiers for the 35th anniversary celebration. Events Coordinator, Bob Garner, announces the players for their jersey retirement. Writer of the movie Hoosiers, Angelo Pizzo, does the honor of handing the players their jerseys. All Hickory Players were honored and the jerseys will be on permanent display at the Hoosier Gym.
Thanks to Bob the gym has become a mecca for fans from around the US and high school basketball teams. He will be missed.
On December 9, 2021, Robert “Bob” Garner Jr., loving husband and father of three children, and six grandchildren died from COVID-19 at the age of 73.
He was born on December 27, 1947 in Knightstown, IN to Robert “Keith” and Alice “Eib” Garner. He attended Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis) and went on to a long career in medical sales. In 1974, he married Jennifer Miller, who passed away in 2014.
Following Jenny’s passing, Bob moved back home to Knightstown where he applied his lifelong passion for basketball as the Events Coordinator at the Hoosier Gym. The Gym became a second home for Bob following the loss of Jenny. Many in the community were impacted by his commitment to the Gym including the recent celebration of the 35th Anniversary viewing of “Hoosiers” coinciding with the Gym’s 100th Anniversary celebration.
Bob was preceded in death by his father and his mother, along with his wife. He is survived by his three children, Jason, Keith, and Kyle, his brother Ron, and his six grandchildren – Taylor, Payton, Aspen, Ryan, Oscar, and Audrey.
Per his requests, no funeral or memorial services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Hoosier Gym at 355 N Washington St. Knightstown IN 46148 or at thehoosiergym.com.
Funeral Directors and staff of Macer-Hall-Marcum Funeral Home, 2011 East Broad Street, New Castle, Indiana are honored to serve the Garner family.