Donald Gardiner, banker, Broadway dancer

May 6, 2014

Donald S. Gardiner, 79, passed away Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at his home in Rehoboth Beach following a long illness.

Donald was born Sept. 7, 1934, son of the late James L. Gardiner and the late Eleanore Jones Gardiner in Boston, Mass., leading to his lifelong love of Provincetown and Cape Cod.

Donald attended Brown University, belonging to the Theta Delta Chi fraternity, then headed for New York City to become a Broadway dancer. A true gypsy on the Great White Way, he performed in "Wildcat" with Lucille Ball, "The Music Man" with Forrest Tucker and "West Side Story" on tour. He also had an active career in summer stock and Broadway tours.

Following his Broadway career, he became a banker in Montgomery County, Md., attaining the position of vice president of Suburban Trust, now part of Bank of America; he retired in 2001.

Throughout his banking career Donald kept up with his love of dancing, adding acting, directing and scenic design to his theatrical resume. For over 40 years he was an integral part of the Washington, D.C. theatre community with leading roles, along with directing, choreography and set design. Some of his favorite venues included King's Jester Dinner Theatre, Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Montgomery Playhouse, Silver Spring Stage and more.

Locally, Donald performed in The Laramie Project, and a series of one-acts at the Rehoboth Art League. At the time of his passing he was still in demand as a scenic designer. In addition to his passion for theatre, Donald supported efforts to save the New England whale population and American wolves.

In his retirement, Donald owned and operated Coastal Frameshop and Gallery.

He is survived by his husband of 43 years, Lee Mills;  his brother, Jeff Gardiner (Fran); nieces: Karen O'Connell (Tom) and Julie Cole (Bobby), nephew, Stephen Gardiner (Christine); his cat Dee; and many loving friends.

A memorial service will be held at CAMP Rehoboth at a future date to celebrate his life.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Donald’s name to CAMP Rehoboth, 39 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971, or Wolf Haven International Wolf Sanctuary, 3111 Offut Lake Rd SE, Tenino, WA 98589.

Arrangements are being handled by Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Lewes.