Robert James Heittman, 66, who was a member of the Fairfax County Transportation Advisory Commission and was past chairman of the Lee District land use and transportation advisory committee, died of liver failure May 10 at his home in Franconia.
Mr. Heittman was among the first appointees in 1989 to the nine-member transportation commission, which advises the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on such issues as road and transit priorities, transportation financing options and legislative initiatives. He was a member of the Lee District advisory committee since the late 1970s and was chairman in the early 1990s.
He was an ombudsman for citizens affected by transportation and development issues. He was involved with the Springfield Mixing Bowl project, the opening of Metro's Franconia-Springfield commuter rail station and transportation projects in the Lee District.
Mr. Heittman was known for his innovative solutions to difficult problems and his use of photographic and visual images.
He also was a member of the Fairfax County History Commission and was a founder of the Franconia Museum, which is collecting artifacts, stories and pictures from Franconia residents and others in the area. He was also vice chairman of the Lee District Association of Civic Organizations.
Mr. Heittman was born and grew up in Brighton, Mass., where he was a high school football star on St. Columbkille Catholic School's undefeated team. During high school, he apprenticed as an electrician and poured his earnings into his red 1941 Ford coupe hot rod.
In 1954, Mr. Heittman enlisted in the Air Force, becoming a master sergeant. His postings took him to Minnesota, where he met his wife-to-be, and to Canada, Texas, North Carolina and Virginia. He started out as a radar approach controller and shifted to working with early computers and electronic counter-countermeasures.
He took correspondence courses for graphics and illustration, leading him to a new career as a graphic designer for Air Force intelligence at the Pentagon, where he worked until he retired from enlisted duty in 1975.
After less than a year in the private sector, Mr. Heittman returned to the Pentagon intelligence office as a civilian and continued to work there until 2000.
Mr. Heittman had lived in the Windsor Park development in Franconia since 1975. He was elected to the homeowners association's board of directors, where he served continuously for nearly 30 years.
Survivors include his wife, Elaine June Heittman of Franconia, whom he married in 1959; one son, Robert Sean Heittman of Williamsburg; three sisters; and one brother.