Leon H. Keyserling, 79, a lawyer and economic consultant who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1950 to 1953, died Aug. 9 at George Washington University Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Washington.
Mr. Keyserling was a legislative assistant to Sen. Robert F. Wagner (D-N.Y.), and a high-ranking official in federal housing programs before joining the Truman administration's Council of Economic Advisers in 1946. He was council vice chairman before becoming chairman.
It was during that time that America successfully demobilized from World War II, loosened price controls, and achieved a peacetime economy with full employment. Later in the Truman years, economic planners had to cope with the "police action" in Korea, booming population growth and society's demand for increased housing and schooling without inflation.
Whatever the economic problems of those years, they were outweighed by overall successes. America skillfully disengaged from a world war and returned to peace but not depression -- as many had feared. And that success was in no small part because of the talented and tenacious Mr. Keyserling.
He brought to the council a wealth of experience in dealing with the executive branch bureaucracy, Democratic Party mandarins and the leaders on Capitol Hill. As legislative aide to Wagner from 1933 to 1937, he had been the principal draftsman of a $3 billion public works bill, the wage and hour provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1934, the National Housing Act of 1935, and the Wagner National Labor Relations Act of 1935. He also had helped draft portions of the 1935 Social Security Act.
Also during those years, Mr. Keyserling worked with the old Senate Banking and Currency Committee and helped draft and write the platforms for the National Democratic Party in 1936, 1940 and 1944. He helped draft the executive order that resulted in the creation of the World War II-era National Housing Agency.
After leaving Wagner's staff, he spent nine years in high-ranking posts with federal housing agencies. He was acting administrator and general counsel of the National Housing Agency, which built millions of housing units for war workers.
After leaving the government in 1953, he was a private consulting economist until 1971. He represented utilities before government regulatory bodies and included among his clients the governments of France, India and Israel. In 1971, he retired from business to devote himself to the Conference on Economic Progress, a private, nonprofit research concern he had founded in 1954. He served as its president and director until his death.
In retirement, Mr. Keyserling continued to write on economic planning, transportation, housing and energy problems. He also attended Democratic Party conventions and traveled extensively.
He was a major draftsman of legislation establishing the Department of Housing and Urban Development and of the 1978 Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act. He was the author of more than 30 book-length studies.
He received awards from organizations ranging from the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change to the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. A 1944 essay he wrote on postwar employment has been cited as the basis for the historic Employment Act of 1946.
Mr. Keyserling was born in Charleston, S.C., and grew up on St. Helena Island, S.C. He was a 1928 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia University and a 1931 graduate of Harvard University Law School. He taught economics at Columbia before joining Wagner's staff.
Survivors include his wife, Mary Dublin Keyserling, whom he married in 1940 and who is a former head of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, of Washington, and one brother, Dr. Herbert Keyserling of Beaufort, S.C.
ACHILLES N. SAKELL, 81, a retired State Department official who was active in the Greek Orthodox Church, died Aug. 9 at Sibley Memorial Hospital after a stroke. He lived in Washington.
Dr. Sakell spent 33 years with the State Department before retiring in 1976. During his career he worked in public affairs, served as a section chief in the language services division, was an inspector of foreign economic and military assistance programs, and taught at the National War College and the Foreign Service Institute. In 1947, he was a member of the Allied Board of Observers during the elections in Crete.
After leaving the State Department, he returned for a time to serve as a delegate to the 1979 Human Rights Conference in Geneva. He also taught political science and international law at George Washington University.
Dr. Sakell was an archon of the Greek Orthodox Church and held the Star of St. Andrew. He was a member of the Archdiocesan Council of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America and a member of the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington.
He was the author of numerous State Department publications and wrote "A Ripple On The Seas," a collection of essays and memoirs published by Vantage Press in 1986. He was a member of the American Political Science Association and the National Press Club and a fellow of the American International Law Society.
Dr. Sakell, who had lived in the Washington area since about 1940, was born in Greece. He moved to this country in 1924 and settled in St. Louis. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Lehigh University and a doctorate in political science and international law at Princeton University.
Survivors include his wife, Alexandra Sakell, and a daughter, Tenia Gikas, both of Washington; three stepsons, Peter Pappas of Stillwater, Okla., Gregory Pappas of Fairfax, and Harold Pappas of St. Louis, and seven grandchildren.
CLARENCE AGEE MELVIN, 71, a retired Navy captain who was a systems analyst with the Naval Air Systems Command for eight years before retiring a second time in 1976, died of cancer Aug. 9 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. He lived in Arlington.
Capt. Melvin, who had lived in the Washington area since 1963, was a native of Selma, Ala. He was a 1938 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and earned a master's degree in personnel management at George Washington University.
An aviator, he served with shore-based antisubmarine squadrons in this country and North Africa during World War II. After the war, he held staff posts in London and with the Pacific Fleet. From 1960 to 1961, he commanded the carrier Valley Forge. He served on the faculty of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces before retiring from active duty in 1968.
From 1976 until earlier this year, he was a substitute mathematics teacher at several schools in Northern Virginia. He was a member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Arlington and the Army Navy Country Club.
Survivors include his wife, Emilou Tilley Melvin of Arlington; a son, John T. Melvin of Boring, Ore.; one daughter, Emily A. Melvin of Auburn, Ala.; a sister, Claude M. Pruet of Selma, and two grandchildren.
WILLIAM G. VAN METER JR., 21, a lifelong resident of the Washington area and a 1985 graduate of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, died of cancer Aug. 9 at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda.
Mr. Van Meter was born in Silver Spring and lived in Rockville. He was a sophomore at Loyola College in Baltimore when he had to withdraw because of illness. In high school and college he was active in dramatic organizations.
He was a member of the Mother of God Charismatic Community in Gaithersburg and of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kensington.
Survivors include his parents, William G. and Bonnie Van Meter of Rockville; three sisters, Bonnie Fanning and Mary Brown, both of Gaithersburg, and Carol Cobbler of Silver Spring, and two brothers, Robert Van Meter of Winchester, Va., and Stephen Van Meter of Germantown.