Robert B. Rathbone, 93, chairman of the University of Maryland’s department of information and publications from 1975 until his retirement in 1981, died March 5 at the Asbury Methodist Village retirement community in Gaithersburg.

He had cancer, said his son, Robert E. Rathbone.

Mr. Rathbone was the director of the information division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service from 1966 to 1975.

Robert Bordner Rathbone was a native of Manhattan, Kan., and a 1942 journalism graduate of Kansas State University. He moved to the Washington area to work for the Agricultural Research Service in 1950. Nine years later, he received a master’s degree in communications from American University.

During World War II, he served in the Navy in the Atlantic and the Pacific theaters.

His professional honors included the USDA Superior Service Award. He was a lifetime member of the National Association of Science Writers.

He was a resident of Colesville before moving to Asbury Methodist Village in 1993.

His wife of 36 years, Lila Maxine Ewing, died in 1978. His second wife, Ann Eastwood, died in 1999 after 11 years of marriage.

Survivors include three children from his first marriage, Susan Schriver of Spring Hill, Fla., Mary Ann Bates of Woodbine and Robert E. Rathbone of Gaithersburg; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough