We knew Charles Atherton since the 1970s and served with him on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts when he was secretary from 1995 to 2004 ["D.C. Man Struck by Car Dies; Noted Urban Designer Had Been Ticketed for Jaywalking," Metro, Dec. 6].

Mr. Atherton's stewardship of the commission was without equal in its influences on the capital. He brought reason and thoughtfulness to decisions affecting the city's memorials and landscape. His informed and keen eye also guided the design of coins proposed for minting, including presidential commemorative editions.

That "powerful" was commonly used to describe the Fine Arts Commission was due to his leadership and integrity. He was the point of reference to which we could turn for the broad, uncomplicated view of the most complex situations. Mr. Atherton influenced the design and planning of Pennsylvania Avenue and Freedom Plaza at 14th Street, the pres- ervation of the Willard Hotel, the siting and design of the National World War II Memorial, and hundreds of lesser known but important decisions. His leadership in assuring noble intentions in every action under the jurisdiction of the commission has left a remarkable and proud record.

HARRY G. ROBINSON III

Washington

BARBARALEE

DIAMONSTEIN-SPIELVOGEL

New York

The writers served, respectively, as chairman and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.