Albert M. “Mel” Christopher, 83, a senior federal executive who held top jobs with the old U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and retired in 1989 as deputy assistant director, died Dec. 19 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. He had pneumonia.
Mr. Christopher joined the nascent arms control agency in 1963 and worked for many years as a special assistant to the director. He also held the top press and congressional liaison jobs.
Mr. Christopher participated in high-profile strategic arms limitation talks during the Cold War and also was involved in efforts to limit nuclear testing and prevent the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
He continued working as a consultant to the agency until it was incorporated into the State Department in the late 1990s.
Albert Melbourne Christopher was born in Pembina, N.D. After Army service in World War II, he spent three years in a Benedictine seminary at St. John’s University in Minnesota.
He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Marquette University in Milwaukee and was a 1955 graduate of the University of North Dakota law school.
He then settled in Washington to work for the Justice Department. A few years later, he became a legislative assistant to Sen. Milton Young (R-N.D.).
In 2005, Mr. Christopher moved from Potomac to the Brighton Gardens assisted living residence in Chevy Chase.
His wife, Louise Ludowese Christopher, whom he married in 1959, died in 2005.
Survivors include two children, Katy Gilbert of Silver Spring and Brian Christopher of Vienna; a sister, Catherine Christopher of Washington; and a granddaughter.
— Adam Bernstein