Charlotte A. Woolard, 62, who as chief of protocol at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts supervised the planning of special events since the inception of the institution in 1971, died of cancer July 17 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Ms. Woolard, who lived in the District, was a coordinator of the glitzy social occasions at the Kennedy Center, including black-tie dinners, tribute shows and cocktail parties. Working with hundreds of guests, including foreign dignitaries and officials from Capitol Hill and the White House, she became known as a shrewd decision-maker as well as an entertaining figure in Washington's social circles.

She did her work with charm, sophistication and an innate sense of who should sit next to whom, colleagues said.

A native of Taunton, Mass., she attended a business school and worked in public relations in Boston and New York City before coming to Washington in 1960. She worked as an administrative assistant in the Central Intelligence Agency's office of the military representative to the president, and in the mid-1960s, she was at the White House working for the National Security Council.

She took her first step into the professional art world in 1966 when she became an assistant to Roger L. Stevens at the Arts Council, which later became the National Endowment for the Arts. Under Stevens's leadership, Ms. Woolard and others formed a tiny force that faced mounting criticism and helped to push for the creation of the Kennedy Center.

Over the years, she held key positions at the Kennedy Center, including assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees, special assistant to the chairman and director of special events.

She leaves no immediate survivors.