James Franklin Garver

Air Force Officer, Lawyer

James Franklin Garver, 87, a retired Air Force officer and lawyer, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was a resident of Arlington.

Mr. Garver received his commission in the Army Air Forces in 1943. He served with the Strategic Air Command in England and France during World War II.

He was scheduled to go to the Pacific theater after the war ended in Europe but instead was requested at the Pentagon by Major General Hugh J. Knerr. He provided initial research and helped lay the groundwork for an autonomous Air Force.

Mr. Garver subsequently helped to establish the first Inspector General's Office of the Air Force, where he served in both active military and civilian capacities until his retirement in 1976. He served in the Air Force Reserve until retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1977.

Mr. Garver was born in Mansfield, Ohio. He grew up at the Ohio State Reformatory, where his father was assistant superintendent. He was a 1938 graduate of Wittenberg University in Springfield, where he was active in Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and played first base on the varsity baseball team.

He attended law school at Ohio State University. After a break for military service, he received his law degree from George Washington University.

He was a longtime member of Fairlington Presbyterian Church in Alexandria and served as deacon, elder, superintendent of the Sunday school, a member of various Presbytery committees and a commissioner to the denomination's General Assembly. He was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of Army Navy Country Club and the University Club of Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Laina Garver of Arlington; two daughters, Barbara Krabill and Mary Garver, both of McLean; and three grandchildren.