Robert M. Artz, 48, who was killed Friday in the crash of an American Airlines DC-10 at Chicago, was a former official of the National Recreation and Park Association in Arlington, Va.

At the time of his death, Mr. Artz was executive director of the Illinois Association of Park Districts in Springfield, Ill. He took that job last January.

He worked with the NRPA in Arlington from 1966 to 1977, when he became general manager of the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District in California. He went from there to the Illinois Association of Park Districts.

Mr. Artz was born in Cut Bank, Mont. He graduated from the University of Montana and earned a master's degree in park and recreation administration from Indiana University.

He established a city and school park in Oxford, Ohio, in the 1950s and then became superintendent of the Willamalane Park and Recreation District in Oregon from 1960 to 1967. He also was chairman of the NRPA's Pacific northwest district council before joining the NRPA staff in Arlington. In 1978, he recieved a citation from the NRPA for his work with the association.

Survivors include his wife, Pat, of the home in Simi Valley, Claif., his mother, Mrs. M.O. Artz, a sister, Betty Martin, and a brother, James, all of Great Falls, Mont. CAPTION: Picture, ROBERT M. ARTZ