Karel Yasko, 74, an official of the General Services Administration whose job was to locate and preserve art and architecture produced under federal programs during the Great Depression, died of heart ailments June 2 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.
Mr. Yasko was an architect by profession and it was as an architect that he came to Washington in 1963 to join the GSA. Projects he helped direct were the design of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building and the headquarters of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But it was as an art and architectural historian that he remained in the government.
In the early 1970s, he obtained a grant to see what remained from the Public Works of Art Project that began in the winter of 1933 and continued through the Works Progress Administration Art program that ended in 1942. It turned out that a great deal remained and that some of it was on the verge of being lost.
Works Mr. Yasko has been credited with saving include William Gropper murals in the Detroit Post Office that almost fell to the wrecker's ball and Ben Shahn watercolors that were kept in an all-but-forgotten storeroom at the U.S. Public Health Service hospital for the treatment of leprosy in Carville, La.
At the time of his death, Mr. Yasko was the counselor to the administrator of the GSA for fine arts and historic preservation. He held the agency's Meritorious Service Medal and the Herbert Adams Memorial Medal of the National Sculpture Society for his services to sculpture.
Mr. Yasko was born in Yonkers, N.Y. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in fine arts and later turned to architecture. During World War II, he was a draftsman and designer for various defense contractors. After the war, he had a private practice in architecture in Wausau, Wis.
In 1960, he moved to Madison, Wis., as state architect of Wisconsin. He remained there until he moved here and joined the federal government.
Mr. Yasko, who lived in Bethesda, was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a director of the Society of Architectural Historians, and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Survivors include his wife, Patricia, and a son, Barry, both of Bethesda.