As a child, he hated to read, pretending to sleep when his mother tried to read to him at night. As a college student, he was surpassed in his English class by non-native speakers of English. As an adult, he was an engineer specializing in thermodynamics for aerospace corporations.
And as an author, he only wrote three books, the first of which, Stone Fox, sold more than 3 million copies and rightfully earned him the designation of one of the touchstones of children's publishing, according to HarperCollins Children's book editor, Kate Jackson.
John Reynolds Gardiner originally wrote Stone Fox as a screenplay. It eventually was produced as a TV movie, starring Buddy Ebsen.
Gardiner, who was 61, died March 4th of complications from pancreatis.