Richard R. Gardner, NOAA executive, dies at 80

October 1, 2013

Richard R. Gardner, who retired from federal service in 1999 as chief of the construction staff at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, died Sept. 11 at his home in McLean. He was 80.

The cause was cancer, said his wife, Barbara Gardner.

Mr. Gardner worked more than 20 years for NOAA. On leaving federal service, he was a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton for six years on matters relating to NOAA’s office of marine sanctuaries.

Richard Rollins Gardner was born in Cambridge, Mass. He graduated in 1955 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in 1963 received a master’s degree in urban planning at Wayne State University in Detroit.

He served two years in the Army, worked as an engineer at Ford Motor Co. and as deputy director of planning in Nassau County, N.Y., before coming to the Washington area in 1968 to work for the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

His awards included a Commerce Department Bronze Medal.

His first marriage, to Ella Paton Gardner, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife since 1986, Barbara Knopf Gardner of McLean; two children from his first marriage, Andrea E. Cro of Falls Church and Paul D. Gardner of Shoreview, Minn.; three stepchildren, Stephanie Desjardins of College Park, Maureen Kline of Brooklyn and Wendy Paula of Cincinnati; a half-sister; and 11 grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes