Frederic Peter Gardiner

image of Frederic Peter Gardiner

Peter Gardiner

Frederic Peter Gardiner was born in Manhattan, NY on May 15, 1934 to Elizabeth Robyn Gardiner (née Miller) and Frederic Merrick Gardiner. Because his father taught sailing at Annapolis to midshipmen, Peter grew up with a love of sailing. Peter’s mother was Bermudian, and he spent many of his earliest years in Bermuda.  He recalled that at age seven, he sailed a tiny sailboat alone in Hamilton Harbor, Bermuda. His love of sailing continued throughout his life.  His favorite memories were of sailing his ocean-going sloop Galadriel with his son Michael, and daughter Lisa on San Francisco Bay.

Peter graduated from South Kent Preparatory school in Connecticut. After attending Princeton, he received a BS in Mathematics from Chicago University. While studying there, he joined the photography club and Chicago Mountaineering Club. With fellow mountaineers, he climbed and photographed the North American ranges; in the Tetons, they made some first ascents, one of which bears his name. In later years, he enjoyed further adventures — white-water rafting on the Colorado, hiking in the Rockies and Death Valley, and sailing both oceans.

Peter’s interest in mathematics and information systems led him to his career as a computer programming pioneer in the late 1950s. Through the decades that followed, he went on to become the director of software, and then director of computer engineering for the City of Chicago, Grumman Corp., Ontel, and a number of fledgling computer companies even into the late 1990s.

With his first wife Elaine (née Calleger), Peter had a daughter Lisa Marie and a son Michael Peter, in Chicago, IL. He and his family later resided in Roslyn, NY and San Francisco, CA. With his second wife, Carolee Stewart, he had a son Ryan Paul. They resided in Fanwood, NJ for many years, and in spring 2017 moved to Mill Creek, WA to live near Ryan and wife Jaqueline.  In the Pacific northwest Peter put his energy into his photography by taking many thousands of pictures of the beautiful flowers, bushes, flowering trees, and fall foliage of the northwest.

Early on the morning of April 14, 2022, Peter died in his Mill Creek home from vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, surrounded by his family.  Peter is survived by his wife Carolee and son Ryan and daughter-in-law Jaqueline; and his ex-wife Elaine, son Michael, daughter Lisa; and son-in-law Tim Cook.

Peter was much loved and is deeply missed. We will honor his wish that his ashes be spread on the sea, where he loved to sail.

In his memory, please make a donation to the Alzheimer’s association (, to support research so that one day there will be a first survivor of this disease.

5 Responses to “Frederic Peter Gardiner”

  • Linda & Richard Borkow says:

    Dear Carolee, Ryan, and family,
    Thank you for this well-written capsule summary of Peter’s life. The photograph of Peter is incredibly engaging and really wonderful. It makes me feel like we are actually looking at each other and about to have a conversation.
    Peter was one of those very special people that you sometimes encounter in life. He was my manager while Director of Programming at Ontel, but he was so much not the usual. Our department was a group of people in their twenties and he was extraordinarily supportive and, I would say, paternal in how he fostered our efforts. I was delighted to have the opportunity to renew our connection when he returned to the east and married Carolee, who had been a friend since the Ontel days. May Peter’s entire family be comforted. He spoke very fondly of all of you on numerous occasions. Best wishes, Linda Borkow

  • Carol Deans-Heiser says:

    Always remember Peter as a brilliant mind and gentle soul.
    So appreciated both of you being so welcoming the times I stayed with you in Fanwood.

    Deepest sympathy, love and prayers,


  • Jeff Kravitz says:

    I met Peter when I joined Grumman Data Services in the ’70s. He was my boss, my mentor, and eventually my friend. He later joined me at Ontel, once again as my boss. He was the best software manager I ever met. He knew how to get the best from people without causing any friction. He was also a brilliant man. Working for, and with him was the best part of my career. Knowing him as a friend was wonderful as well.

    We will all miss him.


  • Lisa Marie Gardiner says:

    Dear Linda and Richard, Carol, and Jeff —
    Thank you for your kind words about my father, Peter Gardiner. I’m sure that, wherever he is, he appreciates them. I wish that I had gotten to know him in the ways that you did. As his daughter, we had a different relationship, including normal frictions between a parent and child. However, one thing that we have in common is that he supported my goals, and never tried to steer me into a path just to satisfy his own goals. I appreciate that now more than I can say.
    Bless you,

  • Clement Dinsmore says:

    Dear all members of Peter’s family especially Lisa, Michael and Ryan: I am a cousin of Peter’s by reason of his father and my maternal grandmother, Frances Vaughan Merrick Gardiner, having been siblings. I met Peter only once in my life at my grandmother’s cottage on Greenings Island, Southwest Harbor, Maine.
    Like Peter I have had a lifelong love of the sea and sailing. Primarily via my grandmother and mother I have a number of etchings done by Peter’s father. They are on various walls of my wife’s and my residence including a wall I immediately see from my home office chair. I, also, have two photos of a lovely schooner, the Evanthea II, that Peter’s father owned and sailed across the Atlantic to England and back. I wish I had crewed aboard her!
    Like Peter’s father, my father-in-law served in the Navy during WW II.
    I hope to connect with Lisa, Michael and Ryan via this message. My phone is 202-281-6870 [cell] and email is My address is 2311 MacDonough Road, Wilmington, DE 19805.

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