Charles A. Robinson Jr., 79, mayor of the town of Vienna since 1976 and a retired officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, died of lung cancer Jan. 3 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

Mr. Robinson began his career with the electric cooperative in 1950 as an electrical engineer, and he retired in 1988 as deputy general manager and chief operating officer. He attended night law school at George Washington University during his early years with the association and he received a law degree in 1960. Later, he had a small private law practice in Vienna, where he had lived for the last 47 years.

He was born in Providence, R.I., and served in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II. After the war he graduated from the University of Virginia, then moved to Washington and began his career with the Rural Electric Cooperative.

Mr. Robinson worked on legislative and regulatory issues during his early years. This included meeting with key committee members of both houses of congress and with regulatory agencies. Later he organized and became the first director of the association's energy and environmental policy department. He was named deputy general manager in 1974. At his retirement, the association's staff had grown from 17 when he joined to 600.

Mr. Robinson's public career began in 1954 with his appointment to the Vienna Board of Zoning Appeals. In 1960, he was named to the Town Planning Commission. He was elected to the Town Council in 1962 and served in that capacity until his election as mayor in 1976. As mayor his duties included presiding at meetings of the Town Council, and setting policy for the operations of the town police force, board of public works, planning and zoning matters.

He was a former president of the Virginia Municipal League, board chairman of the Virginia Municipal Group Self Insurance Association and a member of the Transportation Coordinating Council for Northern Virginia, and the Tysons Corner Task Force.

In 1995, Mr. Robinson was named Rotarian of the Year by the Vienna Rotary. He won the Vienna Toastmasters International Communicator Achievement Award in 1984.

Survivors include his wife, Maud Ferris Robinson of Vienna.