Gordon L. Braithwaite, 62, the retired ombudsman for cultural affairs and special assistant to the director of the D.C. Department of Recreation and Parks, died of kidney failure Nov. 21 at Potomac Center in Arlington.

Mr. Braithwaite, a longtime Washington resident, was born in Atlantic City. He graduated from Hunter College and attended the Performing Arts Management Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles. During the 1960s, he was a program specialist with the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. He also worked with the New York Shakespeare Festival and was a consultant with several other arts institutions.

He came to Washington in the 1970s and was director of special projects for the National Endowment for the Arts, where his work also included duties as special assistant to the chairman for minority concerns. He provided technical assistance and support to minority artists and organizations. He also served as assistant director of the expansion arts program.

In the 1980s, he was managing director of the Los Angeles Theatre Center for three years. He then returned to Washington and served 10 years with the D.C. Department of Recreation and Parks. He did liaison work with the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution. He retired in July.

His honors include a special award from the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York and the D.C. Mayor's Award for special achievement in service to arts throughout the country.

Survivors include two sisters, Adrienne Riaz-Khan of Washington and Paula Ann Goddard of Atlantic City; a half brother, Rodney Braithwaite of Atlantic City; and two stepbrothers, John Carter of Baltimore and Dr. Conwell B. Carter of Los Angeles.