J. Bruce Cardwell
Social Security administrator

J. Bruce Cardwell, 90, a federal executive who served as commissioner of the Social Security Administration from 1973 to 1977, died Dec. 4 at a hospital in Roswell, Ga., of complications from a broken hip.

The death was confirmed by a son, John Cardwell.

Mr. Cardwell began his federal service in 1942 with the Public Housing Administration. He later held a series of fiscal jobs with the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare, rising to assistant secretary and comptroller before joining the Social Security Administration.

After retiring from government service in 1977, Mr. Cardwell was briefly vice president and treasurer of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington. In 1979, he became senior vice president for government programs with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in Chicago.

From 1987 to 1992, he was chief executive of Nasco, an Atlanta-based health-care claims administration company that started as a venture among multiple Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.

James Bruce Cardwell was a native Washingtonian and a 1941 graduate of Western High School. In 1955, he received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Columbus University, now part of Catholic University. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II.

He was a recipient of the Rockefeller Public Service Award.

Mr. Cardwell, a former Rockville resident, lived in Alpharetta, Ga.

His wife of 52 years, Mary Louise Sheppard, died in 1994. Survivors include four sons, James B. Cardwell Jr. of Alpharetta, Mark E. Cardwell of Columbia, David B. Cardwell of Falls Church and John R. Cardwell of Loveland, Ohio; a brother; a sister; and seven grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein