Gardner was born in 1917 in Newton, Mass., and worked for many years in the advertising department at the Boston Herald and at the Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn Advertising Agency. He graduated from Harvard College in 1939, and served in the U.S. Navy for six years during World War II.
Gardner was a director of Arthur D. Little, Kaiman Aircraft Corp., Barry Controls Inc., The Wright Line Inc., Macalaster Scientific Corp., Instron, Lestoil, W.R. Grace, Oxbow Corp., and Stanley Home Products Inc. He was chairman of United Fruit Co. and the Wang Center of Boston, and was a trustee of Boston’s Museum of Science, where he was president from 1954 to 1959.
In 1959, Gardner was elected to the MIT Corporation, the Institute’s Board of Trustees; he became a life member in 1963. During his Corporation tenure, Gardner served on numerous committees, including the Executive Committee, the Investment Committee, the Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences Visiting Committee, and the Ocean Engineering Visiting Committee.
He was predeceased by his beloved son, G. Peabody Gardner Jr., and his wife of 63 years, Tatiana Stepanova Gardner. Gardner leaves behind his two daughters, Alexandra and Tatiana; his daughter-in-law, Susan; his one son-in-law; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston; Escuela Agricola Pan Americana in Washington; or the Museum of Science in Boston. A memorial service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 16, at Trinity Church, Copley Square, Boston. Burial will be private.