Gardner was an employee of the San Bernadino County Clerk's Office. According to her boss, Bob Dutton, she was an employee there for 26 years and was considered a “go-to” person and “dedicated public servant.” 
On October 1, 2017, Dana and her daughter Kayla attended the annual Route 91 Harvest Festival.
Kayla wrote the following on her Facebook profile: 
I am deeply saddened to say that my beautiful Mom has passed away as a result of the shooting at Route 91 in Las Vegas last night. We are devastated and still in shock trying to comprehend what happened last night. My family and I appreciate the outpouring of love and support and ask for prayers at this time ❤️ thank you
One of her other children, Ryan, wrote: 
Dear mama, I could post and write a million things about you but we always shared the same fascination with sunsets. So here is to you. They will never be the same. Truly heart broken. #pleasestopthesenselessviolence #route91 #iloveyou.