John D. Gardner was OSSC President in 1967-68, after serving as Vice-President and Treasurer in the preceeding years. He was born Oct. 14, 1921 in Washington, Iowa. In 1940, he moved to Glendale, California, where he attended an aircraft trade school. John then worked at Vultee Aircraft Company in Downey, California. In 1941, Gardner enlisted in the Naval Air Corps. During flight training, he flew the BT-13 Basic Trainer, the same plane he had worked on at Vultee. John's flight training was completed in PBY Aircraft, and he was then a PBY Flight Instructor until his discharge in October, 1945.
John started his career in optics in 1947 at Applied Research Laboratories in Glendale, California, owned by Dr. Maurice Hasler and Roland Lindhurst. ARL manufactured Spectrochemical Equipment for analysis of various materials, principally metals. Gardner's work at ARL was in a small optical fabrication shop. Together with Bruce Bowslaugh, and under the supervision of J. Wes Kemp, they cast, ground and polished Speculum metal 2.5" and 3" diameter concave mirrors. After obtaining a high quality polish and surface figure, the mirrors were given to Mr. Julius Pearson who, with his ruling machine, ruled gratings on the optical surfaces which were either 24,000 or 36,000 lines per inch. The gratings were then coated with a high vacuum deposited aluminum coating. After testing for the required spectral response they were installed in the emission type spectrometers to produce the desired analytical spectrum. Later the gratings were ruled on aluminized precision polished glass mirrors. Other work for Gardner at ARL involved the designing, construction, and operation of the high vacuum equipment for aluminizing the gratings, and working with Gus Gomez and George Joyner in helping to perfect ARL's own ruling engines.
In 1957 Gardner moved to Aerojet-General Corporation in Azusa, California, and was in the Electro-optical Engineering Dept. managed by Sid Argyle. Some OSSC members in the department included: Howard Hoestery, Russ Temple, and Al Persson. John's work activities involved: graphical ray tracing of optical systems; and assembly, alignment and testing of various electro-optical systems. He also designed, exposed, and photo-etched Beryllium Copper reticles for use in various Infrared optical systems for processing the resulting image quality and target position. Gardner consulted in a small departmental optical fabrication shop and also in the High Vacuum Coating Equipment Lab.
In 1960, John moved to Aeronutronic, Division of Ford Motor Co. in Newport Beach, California and was employed in the Electro-Optical Dept. with Howard Hoestery as Manager. He had moved there previously and asked Gardner to head-up the Departmental Optical Lab. In that lab, optical components were procured, tested, and assembled into various guidance systems which were then aligned and tested for proper function. Also part of the E-0 Lab was a small optical fabrication shop where specialized or experimental components were produced. As supervisor of the E-0 Lab, John was in charge of 6-8 people.
During 1972, a division-wide slow-down was in effect resulting in a temporary lay-off. At that time, Gardner was briefly employed at Hughes Aircraft in the Electro-optical Engineering Department in El Segundo, California. His duties there were similar to those at Ford.
After eight months at Hughes, Ford Aeronutronic recalled Gardner to the same capacity as before, where he remained until his voluntary retirement on 30 Aug 1984, completing 24 years with Ford and 37 years in the Optical Industry. John says: "It was a good career and I enjoyed it all."
In 1940 John met Phyllis Brown. They married in 1944, and have two grown, married daugters: Marsha Stoddard of LaCrescenta, California; and Karen Lantz of Plano, Texas. John and Phyllis Gardner live at 65 Sierra Road, Sedona, Arizona 86336 (Tel: (520)282-6465). He is a photography consultant and takes photos for publicity, weddings, buildings under construction and other projects.