Thomas Clyde McCoy Robinson, 72, a former executive director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and a former Army lieutenant colonel, died of cancer Dec. 6 at a hospital in Houston.

Col. Robinson was born in Canada and grew up in Illinois. He graduated from Monmouth College. He joined the Agriculture Department in 1935 and transferred to Washington in 1942. During World War II, he served in the Army in the Office of the Surgeon General, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel.

After the war, he was a statistical consultant in the Near East with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. He joined the Foreign Service at the United Nations in 1949 and was assigned to Australia. He returned to Washington in 1954.

Col. Robinson worked at the Bureau of Economic Affairs at the State Department for three years before becoming an economic consular at the embassy in Pakistan in 1958. He returned to Washington in 1961 and retired a year later.

He then returned to the FAO world food program and became the executive director of that agency's operations in Rome. He retired for the second time in 1977 and moved to Centerville, Iowa, and then Harligen, Tex. Earlier this year, he was part of a U.N. team that went to Pakistan to evaluate the emergency food program for Afgan refugees.

He was a member of the Rotary Club.

Survivors include his wife, Doris Loehr Robinson of Harligen; a son, John, of Madison, Wis.; four daughters, Cassandra Mydosh of Hillsdale, Mich., Samantha Whetsell and Kathleen Pretorius, both of Stone Mountain, Ga., and Jill Grubb of Oxford, England; two brothers, John, of Mountain Lakes, N.J., and James, of Cincinnati, and seven grandchildren.