Donald Andrew Gardiner died peacefully at home on Saturday, August 23.
Born February 2, 1922, in Buffalo, New York, he attended public schools in that city and subsequently received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo. Upon graduation from college, he entered Midshipman’s School, and after completion of his training, was commissioned as an officer in the United States Navy. Before deployment overseas, he married the love of his life, Marie Tropman, to whom he was married for 59 years, until her death in 2003.
During the war, Don served as skipper of an ARB (Air-Sea Rescue Boat) in the Adriatic and Mediterranean. He was recalled during the Korean War and served as regimental commander at the Naval Training Station in Bainbridge, Marylan. He later served in the Naval Reserve, retiring as a lieutenant commander in 1956. Though he rarely spoke of it until his later years, he was justifiably proud of his naval service, and he was the recipient of a number of medals and commendations.
In 1956, after receiving his doctorate in statistics, Don, Marie, and their three young children moved to Oak Ridge. Don worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, eventually becoming director of statistics and mathematics research at ORNL. He retired from that position in 1986. He was a longtime adjunct professor of mathematics at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was a fellow of the America Statistical Association, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, chairman of the Committee on Statistics of the Southern Regional Education Board, and editor of “Technometrics,” a journal for scientists and mathematicians.
Don enjoyed learning and was a lifelong student. He obtained his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from the University of Buffalo and was awarded his doctorate in statistics from North Carolina State. He was a talented musician and took organ lessons for many years. He gave his final recital in his late 80s. He was a regular participant in the classes given by ORICL (Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning) past the age of 90.
Don served as president of the Oak Ridge Country Club in the 1980s. He loved golf and had three holes-in-one! He served as the treasurer of the East Tennessee Seniors Golf Association for many years.
Don took up a number of hobbies after retirement. One of them was baking bread. After Don and Marie moved into their new house in Willow Place, he made it a practice to greet each new resident of the neighborhood with a friendly smile and a pan of freshly baked rolls. Don also remained active at his church and with Rotary Club until shortly before his death.
Don was pre-deceased by his beloved wife Marie and his sister, Dorothy Pfeiffer.
He is survived by his children, Ellen Morgan (Tom), Andrew Gardiner, Katie Cole (Keith); grandsons, George Morgan, Sam Morgan (Carey), Ned Morgan (Heather), and Will Morgan. His six great-grandchildren: Doyle, Rachel, Charlie, Thomas, Robert, and James Morgan were a source of delight to him. He is also survived by a niece and three nephews, Dail Mizerski, John Tropman, Peter Tropman, and Roger Tropman.
The family would like to thank Lisa Jones and East Tennessee Personal Care Service for their devoted work this past year. Lisa has continuously gone above and beyond the call of duty. She has become family. The family also thanks Caris for their compassionate hospice services. Finally, a big debt of gratitude is owed to Don’s friends, neighbors, and fellow golfers and Rotarians who looked in on him, asked about him, provided transportation for him, and performed so many other acts of kindness.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Don’s church, Chapel on the Hill, or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
A celebration of life was held at the Chapel on the Hill at 4 p.m. Thursday, August, 28. The interment of his ashes in the memorial gardens of the church followed with military honors provided by the U.S. Navy Honors Program. The family greeted friends at a reception in the church fellowship hall immediately afterward.
An online guest book can be signed at www.weatherfordmortuary.com.