Charles Kent Obituary

Charles L. Kent
Charles L. Kent

April 25, 1915 - January 29, 2013
Resided in Bethesda, MD
  • Guestbook
  • Photos
  • Services


Charles Kent: Trial Attorney and International Lawyer, Assistant General Counsel for the Secretary of the Air Force

Charles Kent, deceased on January 29, 2013 at age 97, was a leading specialist in public international law and served both as Assistant General Counsel for International Affairs and Civil Aviation for the Secretary of the Air Force and in the military as a Colonel in the US Air Force.

Charles worked at the New York-based law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore until he entered the army-air corps in 1943. Following the war, he decided to practice public law with the US government. From 1948 to 1954, he served as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and was responsible for the preparation and litigation of alien property and anti-trust cases. The only break in this period occurred when Charles was recalled into the armed forces in 1950 as a USAF captain in the Judge Advocate General's Office in Europe.

His abiding interest in international law led him in 1954 to join the Office of the General Counsel to the Secretary of the Air Force. As assistant deputy general counsel, he earned a government-wide reputation for his extensive knowledge of international civil aviation and aerospace law. The professional achievements for which he wanted to be remembered include his extensive involvement in the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and in subsequent treaties concerned with outer space law and Law of the Sea.

Having formally retired from public service in 1973, he maintained his passion for the law through his involvement as assistant bar counsel on the Board of Professional Responsibility with the D.C. Court of Appeals, as adjunct professor at the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars and as a lecturer in international law at Beijing University.

Charles was born in what now is the Czech Republic. After obtaining his LLB and LLM from the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris in 1937, he became a Barrister-at-Law at Lincoln's Inn in London. During that time he also worked for the French government in exile. In 1942 he undertook post-graduate work at Harvard Law School in taxation, corporate and contract law.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Jeanne Sarlay Kent of Bethesda, Maryland; a son from his first marriage, Randolph Kent of London, England; a daughter Livia Kent of the District of Columbia; two daughters-in-law, Laura Sandys of London, England and Valerie Kent of Nairobi, Kenya; two grandsons, Toby (Bhupinder) Kent of Melbourne, Australia and Timothy (Caroline) Kent of Robertsbridge, England; three great grandsons, Kabir, Arlo, and Joven; a sister-in-law, Linda (John) Horstmeyer of St. Louis, Missouri.

Charles will be remembered for his gracious and generous ways. He was a renaissance man with an unending quest for knowledge and understanding and an insatiable zest for exploring the world and all its joys and mysteries. His family will always be enriched by his constant love and support.
There will be a private service for the family on February 1. A celebration of life service will take place at a later date. For details, please contact Jeanne Kent.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Community Hospice of Washington, 3720 Upton Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016.




Funeral Home
Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home/Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Inc.
7557 Wisconsin Avenue
Bethesda, MD US 20814-3501