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Frederick Joseph Emery

October 11th, 1933 - April 28th, 2015

Frederick Joseph Emery of Washington, D.C., passed away at his home on Wednesday, April 29, 2015. Mr. Emery was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on October 12, 1933. He was the only son of the late Fred and Frances (Dahlem) Emery of Watervliet, N.Y. He was also predeceased by his sisters, Frances Beeble and Elizabeth Finn. Mr. Emery was a man of many hats and many talents. He distinguished himself as a regulatory lawyer, director of the Federal Register and founder of The Regulatory Group Inc. and Bogeybreakers Inc. Mr. Emery attended Union College and Albany Law School, both on academic scholarships. He was the first person in his family to attend college and graduate school. Following law school, he worked in New York state government, where he was first introduced to legislative and regulatory drafting. Mr. Emery's stint in New York government gave him the skills and connections to make a move to Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Lola, left behind generations of family in upstate New York to start a new life and adventure together in Washington. The year was 1963 and the move brought them to Washington in time to witness the sad aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the hope of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington. In 1963, Mr. Emery started his career in the federal government at the Office of the General Counsel of the Federal Aviation Administration. He enjoyed telling people that he wrote some of the most repeated words in the English language: "Please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position." Mr. Emery also worked on the recodification of the aviation safety regulations into the uniform Federal Aviation Regulations. After the recodification project, he was named chief of the branch responsible for the legal drafting and interpretation of regulations applicable to air carrier and commercial operator operations. In 1968, he was promoted to deputy assistant general counsel for regulation at the Department of Transportation, where he was involved in all of the department's transportation safety regulations. In 1970 as a result of his work with DOT, Mr. Emery was recommended and hired to be the new director of the Federal Register. He led the Federal Register from 1970 to 1979. During this time, Mr. Emery was a member of President Carter's task force, briefed the President, and was instrumental in the drafting of Executive Order 12044. Mr. Emery also taught administrative law at Antioch Law School. Throughout his career, Mr. Emery was always concerned with the quality of legal writing and the clarity and accessibility of government regulation and became a distinguished figure in administrative law. His career at the Office of the Federal Register saw a significant elevation of the office in terms of its influence on the regulatory process and impact on government openness and transparency. Mr. Emery often said he kept the small businessman in mind when writing regulations and teaching plain-English workshops. Throughout his career, Mr. Emery was involved in the American Bar Association's Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice, the Administrative Conference of the United States and the Supreme Court Historical Society. He was also an active alumnus for both Union College and Albany Law School. From 1977 to 1980, he chaired the ABA's Standing Committee on Legal Drafting and on several occasions chaired ABA awards committees. People who knew him during his career at the FAA, DOT and the Office of the Federal Register remember him as a humble and unassuming man who was nurturing and respectful of everyone. In 1980, Mr. Emery started his own consulting firm, The Regulatory Group Inc., focusing on federal agency rulemaking. His consulting company has advised regulatory agencies throughout government on the rulemaking process and has provided Mr. Emery's practical insights on administrative law through training courses offered to employees from every regulatory agency in the federal government. Outside of his career and family, Mr. Emery's love was golf. He lived a life separate from his legal career as the champion of the golf duffer through his venture Bogeybreakers Inc. Through his alter ego, Colonel Bogey, Mr. Emery provided advice, teaching and encouragement to weekend golfers for more than 40 years. Mr. Emery leaves his family to cherish his memory, including his wife of 57 years, Lola Meyer Emery of Washington, D.C.; daughter Jean and her husband Mike Hickey of Silver Spring, Md., sons Alan and his wife Gail Emery of New Market, Md., and Andrew and his wife Kristin Emery of Arlington, Va.; and the Taylor children, whom he has long loved and cared for, Christopher and his wife Wendy Taylor of Gaithersburg, Md., Patrick and his wife Kim Taylor of Palm Harbor, Fla., and Tracy and her husband Tim Coats of Nashville, Tenn. Mr. Emery also leaves nine grandchildren, Andrew (19), Sarah (16), Louie (11), Brennan (9), Ellington (9), Ryan (7), Harrison (7), Finn (5), Creighton (3), and baby Hazel, who predeceased him. His grandchildren will forever think of him when they are blowing bubbles, eating pancakes, gobbling up banana bread, swimming in his pool and digging for potatoes. A celebration of his life will be held on June 14, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. at the Thomas Room, University of Maryland golf course clubhouse, MD 193 and Stadium Drive, College Park, Md. Memorial contributions may be made to So Others Might Eat (SOME) or the Southern Poverty Law Center or a charity of your choice.

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Michael Minor

Fred was a great friend of my late father Jim Minor for whom Fred worked for many years. I had entered the Air Force only a year or two after meeting Fred, but I always will remember the interesting discussions and his love of golf. I particularly appreciate his remarks at my father's memorial service. As a Maryland alumnus, I appreciate the fact that his celebration of life will take place at the U of M golf course. My condolences to his family and all of his close friends.

Published June 10th, 2024
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Noreen Hannigan

Fred occupies a special place in my life, having given me my first real job out of college in 1974. My mom knew Fred from his years at the FAA, and suggested I send my application to the Federal Register (where Fred was then Director). I got hired for an entry-level job and made a career in regulatory work. Fred was an excellent leader who made administrative procedure seem interesting and important. He got the best from his employees because of his enthusiasm for the people and the...

Published June 10th, 2024
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