Charles L. Kent, 97, a retired assistant general counsel to the secretary of the Air Force, died Jan. 29 of heart ailments at his home in Bethesda.

His wife, Jeanne Kent, confirmed the death.

Mr. Kent joined the secretary of the Air Force’s general counsel office in 1954. He was promoted to assistant general counsel for international affairs and civil aviation in 1971.

After his retirement in 1973, he worked as an assistant bar counsel for the Board on Professional Responsibility of the D.C. Court of Appeals until the early 1980s.

Earlier in his law career, he was a Justice Department trial lawyer.

Charles Leonard Kent was born in Brno in the present-day Czech Republic. He was a 1937 law graduate of Paris’s Institute of Political Sciences, then pursued postgraduate work at Harvard Law School. He settled in the Washington area in 1948.

Mr. Kent was an Army Air Forces veteran of World War II and served with the Air Force in the Korean War. He was an officer in the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the early 1950s and then served in the Air Force Reserve until retiring in 1974 at the rank of colonel.

He taught law classes at Beijing University and the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, a nonprofit entity that helps place college students in internship programs.

His first marriage, to Herta Warren, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Jeanne Sarlay Kent of Bethesda; a son from his first marriage, Randolph Kent of London; a daughter from his second marriage, Livia Kent of Washington; two grandsons; and three great-grandsons.

— Megan McDonough