Jay Gardiner, a Plastics Hall of Fame member known for volunteering for numerous plastics industry causes, died Oct. 15 after a battle with cancer. He was 70.
Gardiner was a Distinguished Member of the Society of Plastics Engineers, having served as SPE president from 1996-97. He also was president of the Plastics Academy, chair of the Plastics Institute of America and Plastics Pioneers Association, and a member of the board of the National Plastics Center and Museum.
When he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2012, Plastics News' profile called him "an unabashed cheerleader for the plastics industry."
"I love the industry, there's no question about it. And I've had a great opportunity through these organizations to meet a lot of people," he said.
Gardiner was born in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1951, and he lived in Queens and Manhattan before moving to South Setauket, N.Y., in 1986.
In 1972, Gardiner was finishing up his last semester at Queen's College, part of the City University of New York, to get an industrial psychology degree. He was supplementing his income by playing in a rock band, when one day a fellow band member told him about an opportunity at a plastics company.
The next day, Gardiner got a job at Warbern Packaging Industries Inc. selling plastic hangers to the garment industry. He finished college, then traveled around the U.S. He rose to vice president of marketing operations, as the company became A&E Products Group, and eventually a unit of Tyco International Ltd.
He moved to resin distributor Bamberger Polymers Inc. in 1980 to become manager of styrenic materials. Then he moved to another resin distributor, Marsh Plastics Inc., before founding Gardiner Plastics, a resin distributor and strategic consulting firm in Port Jefferson, N.Y., in 1991.
Gardiner was the principal author of SPE's 2000 Strategic Plan. He advocated for close cooperation between SPE, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. — now the Plastics Industry Association — and other trade associations.
He was nominated for the Plastics Hall of Fame by his friend, former SPI President Bill Carteaux.
Gardiner also had a lifelong passion for emergency medical services. He served with the Setauket Fire Department for more than 30 years, and he taught emergency medicine at Suffolk County Community College, where he was an associate professor.
Gardiner was also an avid golfer and sports fan.
He is survived by his wife, Diane; four children; and three grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Visitation and services are scheduled for Oct. 20 at Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket, N.Y.