Robert Gardner, 53, program coordinator for the D.C. Department of Human Resources and a retired Army major, died of pneumonia Sunday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Mr Gardner joined DHR in 1976 as head of the agency's payments assistance administration. In the mid-1970s he became program coordinator for the department.

A veteran of World War II and the Korean conflict, he retired from the Army in 1963 with 21 years of service.

He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1964, and a degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, a year later.

Mr. Gardner, who lived in Landover, moved to this area in 1965 and worked for the Department of Commerce and then as an iade to D.C. Mayor Walter E. Washington before joining DHR.

A native of Waynesboro, Ga., he grew up in Philadelphia.

Mr. Gardner was a yough adviser to the D.C. Children's Center at Cedar Knoll and a volunteer in the Boy Scouts.

He also was active in community affairs and was a past president of the Ardmore Elementary School PTA in Landover. In addition, he served as commissioner of the Glenarden Housing Authority, a voluntary position.

He attended Ascension Lutheran Church in Landover Hills.

Survivors include his wife, the former Erika Heiden, two daughters. Heide and Karen, and a son, Adrian, all of the home in Landover; his Parents, Eddit Gardner, of Waynesboro, and Willie Mae Gardner, of Philadelphia, and two sisters, Mattie Harrison and Louise Harrington, also, of Philadelphia. CAPTION: Picture, ROBERT GARDNER