-- Matt Schudel The Washington Post 2008
Robert Laughlin Park, 89, a retired aviation lawyer and administrative law judge who
later became an official with an airline industry association, died Dec. 26 of kidney
disease at the Falcons Landing retirement facility in the Loudoun County community of
Mr. Park was born in Detroit and came to Washington in his teens. He graduated from
the old Western High School in 1936. After graduating from Duke University in 1940,
he completed two years at Harvard Law School before serving in the Coast Guard
during World War II. He was a communications officer on troop transport ships in the
North Atlantic and the Mediterranean.
After the war, he completed his law degree at Harvard and worked in Massachusetts
briefly before coming to Washington in 1948.
He spent 28 years as a legal officer with the old Civil Aeronautics Board (now the
Federal Aviation Administration). He was a prosecutor, appellate lawyer and, for 12
years, an administrative law judge. He presided over many cases dealing with airline
mergers and the allocation of airline routes. Mr. Park was the agency's chief judge at the
time of his retirement from the government in 1976.
He then joined the Air Transport Association of America as its first travel agent
commissioner. In that position, he established an office that adjudicated contractual
disputes with airline travel agents and heard appeals concerning the accreditation of
agents. He retired in 1987.
Mr. Park lived in Falls Church for many years and was a member of Lewinsville
Presbyterian Church in McLean, the International Aviation Club of Washington and
various charitable and educational organizations.
His wife of 57 years, Mary Curry Park, died in 1999.
Survivors include two children, Lucy Dugger of Richmond and Timothy Park of
Manassas, and three grandsons.