During his 38-year career with the National Park Service (NPS), Bob Chandler earned the respect of many, and a number of those rising through the ranks benefited from the example he set. After graduating from the University of Maryland, in 1958 he began his NPS career as a horticulturist with National Capital Parks. He went on to lead the Job Corps Center first at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and then at their Chicago office. He served as superintendent of a number of national park units to include Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Olympic National Park (NP), Everglades NP, and Grand Canyon NP. In his final NPS position as the first general manager of the Presidio, he led the transition of the Presidio in San Francisco from an Army post to national park.
While at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, he witnessed and contributed to a number of key events to include the opening of the Museum of Westward Expansion under the Gateway Arch, the construction of the grand stairway from the river to the Arch, the visit of Prince Charles to the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse, and also sought funds for the landscape around the Arch.
Chandler received two of the Department of the Interior’s highest awards, Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service. After retiring from the NPS in 1996, he served on the National Park System Advisory Board and helped author the seminal report “Rethinking the National Parks for the 21st Century.” He was also a member of the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation Board and a senior advisor to the National Park Foundation. He passed away in 2010 at the age of 74.