Richard A. Frank, seen in 1978, was a lawyer, head of a nonprofit and also served as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 1977 to 1981. (U.S. Department of Commerce)

Richard A. Frank, a past president of Population Services International, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization providing global health programs targeting malaria, child survival, HIV and reproductive heath, died April 20 at an assisted-living facility in Washington. He was 77.

The cause was progressive supranuclear palsy, said his son Brian Frank.

Mr. Frank spent 21 years as chief executive of Population Services International, which operates in 69 countries with an annual budget of $500 million and almost 9,000 employees. He retired in 2008.

Earlier he was a lawyer in private practice and for the federal government. From 1977 to 1981, he was administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Richard Asher Frank, who lived in Washington, was born Nov. 4, 1936, in Omaha. He graduated from Harvard College in 1958 and from Harvard Law School in 1962.

He then came to Washington as a State Department lawyer. Following the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, he was the State Department counsel to the Warren Commission’s inquiry into the assassination.

Later he was director of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a nonprofit think tank aimed at improving living conditions for low-income people and families.

From 1981 to 1987, Mr. Frank was a partner in the law firm of Wald, Harkrader & Ross, specializing in international law. He was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University law school.

His first marriage, to Jane Lakes, ended in divorce; she later married the audio industry entrepreneur Sidney Harman and became a Democratic congresswoman from California. Mr. Frank was separated from his second wife, the former Susan Coulson.

Survivors include two children from his first marriage, Brian Frank and Hilary Peck of New York City; two sons from his second marriage, Alex Frank of Herndon, Va., and Nicholas Frank of San Francisco; and four grandchildren.