In Memoriam: Thaddeus Lindner

The trustee emeritus had a long history as a champion and supporter of the George Washington University.

Tad and Mary Jean Lindner
Tad Lindner and his wife, Mary Jean.
December 11, 2020

Thaddeus A. Lindner, A.A. ’50, B.A. ’51,  a trustee emeritus at the George Washington University, died Dec. 7. He was 94.

Mr. Lindner—known as “Tad” to family and friends—had a long history with GW as a student, trustee and volunteer leader, who supported numerous areas of the university through philanthropy with his wife, Mary Jean, GWSB ’51.

Mr. Lindner was a co-founder of Colonial Parking, Inc., the largest parking services company in the District of Columbia. The company’s first lot was near the university’s Foggy Bottom campus at a site where the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts now stands. In 1950, he and a fellow student, the late Sergius “Serge” Gambal, B.A. ’52, launched the fledgling venture while still enrolled at GW as undergraduates. In comparison to these achievements, none was more important than meeting the love of his life, Mary Jean Wellford, while she was taking night courses at GW.

A World War II veteran, Mr. Lindner attended GW on the GI bill. In his senior year, he was elected president of the university’s student government association. He was a star member of GW’s golf team and was team captain his senior year. He was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1973. Mr. Lindner served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees for more than 20 years from 1969 to 1993, lending guidance during some of the most critical years of GW’s growth. 

In 1994, Mr. Lindner received an honorary doctorate in public service from GW.

“For well over 50 years, Tad Lindner had a special and long-standing relationship with GW as a student and distinguished alumnus. Not only was he a standout student-athlete and student government president, but he also served the university with great distinction as a trustee and emeritus trustee,” GW President Thomas LeBlanc said. “His legacy will continue to benefit our students for years to come. On behalf of the university, we offer our condolences to his wife, Mary Jean, and to the entire Lindner family.”

The university recognized Mr. and Mrs. Lindner in 2019 with a Spirit of GW Award: GW Philanthropy Award, noting at the time that the couple had made annual gifts to GW for 68 consecutive years. Mr. Lindner’s legacy at GW extends beyond his volunteerism and philanthropic support, with several generations of family members also graduating from GW.  

In a video for the 2019 Spirit of GW Awards, former GW trustee and Elliott School of International Affairs professor Edward “Skip” Gnehm Jr., B.A. ’66, M.A. ’68, noted that he had first met Mr. Lindner when Mr. Gnehm was an undergraduate at GW in the 1960s. “He was such an impressive person,” Mr. Gnehm said. “Very polite. Very easy and open. The word ‘unassuming’ has to come to mind.”

 

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