site image


M. Robert Gardner

August 7, 1924 ~ June 11, 2018 (age 93)
Obituary Image

 M. Robert Gardner, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and uncle passed away peacefully at the age of 93 on June 11, 2018. He was born on August 7, 1924 in Manhattan, son of Max and Blanche Lustgarten, and was raised in Brooklyn. Bob received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his medical degree from the Columbia School of Physicians and Surgeons. He did his psychoanalytic training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute (BPSI) and worked at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, Harvard Medical School (where he started a new psychiatric training program), and the Harvard University Health Services. Bob was stationed in San Antonio from 1951-1952 during the Korean War as a captain in the Air Force. He subsequently taught at BPSI and at the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England, East (PINE), whose foundation he spearheaded in 1975. PINE's educational program was designed to teach psychoanalysis in a workshop atmosphere and was an "institute without walls." Bob was a highly-esteemed psychoanalyst and teacher of psychiatry and psychoanalysis for over five decades and a legendary training analyst, inspiring students and colleagues throughout the world. He was also the author of several books, including Self-Inquiry; Hidden Questions, Clinical Musings; On Trying to Teach; Cher Pierre: A Guide to Paris, Its People, and Their Language; and On Trying to Paint. Moreover, he wrote and lectured extensively about the life and art of Vincent van Gogh. One critic wrote that "Bob Gardner is that rarest of birds. He embodies a fine intelligence, the voice and pen of a poet, the eye and hand of an artist, an imagination that flies without effort between the profound and the everyday, the curiosity of a cat, and the imaginings about human beings of a born psychoanalyst. He is a constructive skeptic who breathes integrity. And thank God for his sense of humor!" Another wrote that "Bob Gardner has a spaciousness of mind and generosity of spirit that has set many free to pursue their own talents. His magic might just change you!" Bob was not only a poet of the pen but a devoted artist. Inspired by the subtle and shifting light of Paris during a trip with his family to Europe in 1969, he began a fifty-year love affair with watercolor. He painted still lifes, landscapes, nudes, buildings, flowers, portraits, and whatever struck his fancy. Bob had numerous public exhibitions and donated the proceeds to health-related charities around the globe. Raising six children in Cambridge with Betsy, his cherished wife of 60 years, Bob instilled a sense of independence, passion, compassion, and wonder. From summers in Wellfleet, to camping trips in North Carolina, Nova Scotia, and France, he and Betsy led their intrepid troops on marvelous adventures and misadventures. Lover of nature, raconteur exemplar, playful humorist, and irreverent rebel, Bob shone a light on life and helped us to be the best version of ourselves. He is survived by his daughters Lyn and Annie; his sons Peter, Bill, John, and George; nine grandchildren; and nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of M. Robert Gardner to the American Heart Association : donatenow.heart.org. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. 

© 2019 Brown & Hickey Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS