Dr. Richard Leo Gaertner Jr.

richard gaertner

August 28, 1939 ~ May 21, 2024

Born in: Pittsburgh, PA
Resided in: Great Falls, VA

Dr. Richard Leo Gaertner, Jr. born August 28, 1939, passed away on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at the age of 84 in his home, surrounded by family, just as he wished.

Dick, or Dr. G, as he was known, born, and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a proud Pittsburgher, who called Northern Virginia his home. He was a graduate of The Bullis School in Potomac, MD; Pennsylvania State University, (B.S.) in State College, PA; and Temple Medical School, (M.D.) in Philadelphia, PA. His postdoctoral training included an internship at Southside Hospital University of Pittsburgh. His residencies were at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, and the Medical College of Virginia, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.

Dick served his country as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force, Special Operations Force, from 1964 to1969 during the Vietnam conflict. Upon his return from Southeast Asia and his honorable discharge, he established a medical practice in Vienna, VA, where he served his beloved community as an Orthopaedic Surgeon for over 50 years. Dick was a highly accomplished and determined individual who cared deeply for his patients and staff. Many who have known and been touched by him have said that his personal interest in them helped to indelibly shape their lives and careers for the better.

Over Dick’s career he served as Chairman of Orthopaedic Surgery at Reston Hospital (2002 – 2009); Clinical Instructor, Orthopaedic Surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University (1973 – 2000); and as Clinical Instructor, Orthopaedic Surgery, George Washington University (1973 – 1985). He was a member of many medical associations and was a prolific published author in medical journals and a presenter at numerous medical conferences.

Outside of his medical profession, Dick enjoyed coaching youth baseball, softball, and basketball which he did for over 20 years. He was a pillar of the Vienna community. Dick enjoyed skiing, traveling, and playing tennis. He made friends easily and was gifted at putting people at ease. Throughout his life, his curiosity led him to try new things and engage with everyone he met. You knew that you were held particularly close to his heart when you received a special nickname from him.

Above all else, Dick loved and valued his family. He is predeceased (2018) by his sister Marianne Gaertner Scharpf of Washington, D.C.; survived by his wife Melinda G. Gaertner (68); his six children: Holly A. Silas (60), Edward J. Gaertner (56), Kate L. Gaertner (53), Richard L. Gaertner, III (48), Jason Burd (48), and Louis P. Gaertner (30); and his cherished grandchildren: Marion (29), Caroline (26) and Janey (25) Silas; Sazu (19), Shie (12), Waka (8) and Nami (3) Gaertner; Madeline (15) and Quinn (10) Reagan; Evellen (12), Vivien (10) and Adalyn (7) Gaertner; Bradley (19), Rachel (17) and Charlotte (14) Burd; and Louisa (4), Clara (2) and Peter (due June 2024) Gaertner.

Relatives, family, and friends are invited to celebrate Dick’s life on Friday, June 7, at 11:00 AM at The Church of the Holy Comforter, 543 Beulah Road, N.E., Vienna, VA 22180. Greetings and light refreshments with the family to follow. In lieu of flowers a donation in Dick’s name to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is welcomed – https://www.vfw.org.


Memorial Service: June 7, 2024 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Holy Comforter Episcopal Church
543 Beulah Road
Vienna, VA 22180


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The family greatly appreciates donations made to these charities in Richard Leo Gaertner 's name.

Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)


Memories Timeline


  1. This is a very sad day for me!

    Dr. G was our family doctor. He treated all of our ackes and pains. As my daughters became athletes, he treated their broken bones and sports injuries. I remember the day I hurt my back, I went to the office and parked in the hallway until they opened and Doc said, “come on in, we’ll get you fixed up!” And he did. Doctor G was a rare breed of doc. He didn’t send you out for service, he did what was needed himself in the office and if necessary he’d have Penny schedule you a surgical OR appointment. He always had the best staff and I remember Penny keeping things moving and Jessica running the x-ray machine. I was even lucky enough to enjoy the fruits of the PT team and facility as they helped me heal on multiple occasions.

    The practice was like family, so much so, that I even missed seeing them if I didn’t have an ailment to go in for! I have always loved Dr. G and the Vienna Sports Medicine practice. It was a pillar for our community and an inspiration to us all. I have always said there is not a doc like him and I believe there will not be another as loving, caring, and as competent and versatile as he for many many years to come!

    Giant sized condolences to the family! Though I am sure he resisted death to the very last breath, he so very deserves the rest. May you find the peace in his passing that he now finds in heaven. I will forever miss my Dr. G who had a very special way of singing my name whenever he saw me in the office. That ring will live in my head, in memory of him, forever!

  2. Oh Dr G….
    Where do I begin, I will forever be greatfull for you. You taught me so much, you gave me so many opportunities, taught me to coach baseball and basketball, gave me the opportunity to work in the practice, from fron to back and Loved it, so much so I chose to work in a hospital and Love it.
    He taught me to be passionate and that you always have something to learn.
    I loved when he sang my name.
    God knew what He did when he sent me to the Gaertners, I was truly blessed. We did not speak often but he gave me the opportunity to visit twice and when I visited it was as if I was never gone.
    I know you are leaving a gap in many lives Dr G.
    Mindy and the rest of the family, my heart bleeds for you, thank you for loving me. You are all in my thoughts.

  3. Dr. G was not only my Ortho doctor starting in the early 2000 but I also interacted with him on Wednesday’s when volunteering as a volunteer in Same Day Surgery. He was also jovial whether you were a patient or as a nurse, volunteer or another doctor. He always had you laughing and smiling whether going into surgery or just having a conversation with him. I missed him as my Ortho doctor after he retired, but asked other doctors whether or not they had seen him or made any contact with him. God Bless Him and God Watch Over His Soul and all of His family members and friends that are hearbroken from his passing away.

  4. Dr. G was my all-time favorite doctor, and also a good friend – for 45 years! I first saw him with a broken ankle and I said ‘Help me, I’m a kamikaze skier’ and he said ‘So am I!’ So I knew I had the right doctor. They said if Dr. G gave you a nickname you were close to his heart. Yeah, I guess so, because he called me ‘Jimmy’ and his greeting was always, well, singing is a good word. Did I imagine it, or was there a picture on the wall when all the staff dressed up in slings, bandages, and casts for Dr.G’s birthday? Mindy and Penny, I love you guys & all the staff – thanks for everything!

  5. Mark and I met Dick when he and Mindy got engaged and then married. He welcomed us into his family without hesitation. He lit up a room with his warm and engaging personality! He had the ability to make everyone he talked to feel special. He loved Mindy and all of his family. He will be missed by so many. Rest in peace!

  6. Jimmy again – oh, I forgot! I had major spine surgery with Dr. G and he discharged me a day early to go home – ‘ I don’t have a ride home!’ So he said ‘Hey, I’ll give you a ride home, just have to do a short surgery and I’ll be right back up to get you!’ So he drove me home to Sterling, walked with me into my house and set me down on the couch & made sure I had everything I needed, and then drove back to Vienna ‘cuz he still had patients that afternoon! I still don’t believe it, my surgeon drove me home!

  7. I went under his knife 55 years ago and have never forgotten him – and my back has held up ever since! My deep appreciation and condolences to the (large) family of a man truly admired by my wife and I over the years.
    Bob and Karen Stickel

    • I worked with Mindy at USAA. Dr G fixed my knee in 1984 and my brothers back in 1976. He was highly respected by my family.
      My prayers go out to the family.

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