The Boys’ Club of New York (BCNY) mourns the passing of our beloved friend and longtime BCNY Trustee, Robert “Stretch” Gardiner. Stretch was a unique and extraordinary individual and an inspirational leader. Among his many significant contributions to the BCNY was the vision he brought for advancing educational opportunities for countless BCNY boys. He founded The Robert M. Gardiner School at our summer camp and was a tireless and generous champion of our Independent School Placement (ISP) program. He loved to hear stories of all our boys as they prepared to depart for school but he especially delighted when one packed his bags for his alma mater, the Trinity Pawling School.
Stretch joined the Board of Trustees in 1976 and served as an Honorary Trustee since 2006. During his 42 years on the board, he led or served on numerous committees. As co-chair with Ebby Gerry, Stretch led our Committee on Trustees and was responsible for encouraging many of his friends and colleagues to join our board, and they remain an integral part of BCNY’s leadership to this day. Stretch led our successful 2003 capital campaign and received the ‘Northrop” Award for spirit at our 2011 Awards Dinner. Stretch and Liz were fixtures at our special events, often serving on organizing committees or as event co-chairs. And finally, one of the two principal trophies which we award each year at our golf outing is the Stretch Gardiner Cup, named to honor his years of hard work, enthusiasm, and good humor.
In his professional life, Stretch retired as a Senior Advisor to Morgan Stanley. Previously he was Chairman and CEO of Dean Witter Financial Services Group after working his way up to Managing Partner of Reynolds Securities Inc. (which merged with Dean Witter in 1978). Stretch was one of the authors of the investment handbook for individual investors called The Morgan Stanley Guide to Personal Investing (1987), which became the guidebook for successful RIAs. Before he began his business career, Stretch served his country with distinction in the Army during WWII and received the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Belgian Croix de Guerre.
The depth of Stretch’s commitment to his community and especially to the lives of young people is an inspiration for us all and will never be forgotten. The boards, staff, alumni and especially the boys we serve have been forever enriched by Stretch’s leadership. In our memory, his legacy will live on for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Liz and all of Stretch’s family.