Richard J. O'Melia, 88, a lawyer and a former vice chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board, died of cancer Oct. 26 at Manor Care Health Services in Potomac, Md.
O'Melia, a licensed pilot, had been a member of the staff of the aviation agency from 1957 until 1973, when he was appointed by President Nixon to complete a term on the board that expired the next year. He was reappointed to a six-year term by President Ford.
O'Melia's tenure at the agency coincided with the deregulation of the airline industry.
Born in Rhinelander, Wis., he graduated from Notre Dame University and served as a Marine Corps pilot during World War II, fighting in the Pacific.
He studied law at Marquette University and became general counsel to the U.S. Senate's Committee on Government Operations, where he worked until joining the aviation agency.