Monday, February 28, 2005


Former diplomat and maritime archaeology professor Sumner Gerard dead at 88


February 26, 2005

VERO BEACH, Fla.- Sumner Gerard, a New Yorker who became a Montana rancher and legislator before serving as a U.S. diplomat, has died at 88.

Gerard died of natural causes Thursday at a Vero Beach hospital, said his son, also named Sumner Gerard.

Educated at Groton School and Cambridge University, Gerard moved from New York to Montana in 1949, operated ranches in the Dillon and Ennis areas, and had business interests in Billings and Bozeman. He was a Republican in the Montana Legislature from 1956-60 and 1962-66.

He became a delegate to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1969. Gerard was named mission director in Tunisia for the U.S. Agency for International Development the following year. He was the U.S. ambassador to Jamaica from 1974 to 1977, appointed by President Nixon.

In 1977, Gerard moved to Florida to sponsor and participate in a number of underwater archaeology expeditions and marine studies. He became an adjunct professor of maritime archaeology at the University of Miami and was a benefactor of the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

He also was survived by four daughters: Jenny Brown, Molly Gerard, Anne Gerard and Helen Gerard.

Services were scheduled Tuesday at the Smithsonian station and Thursday at St. Thomas Church in New York City.


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