SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — Ira J. Hutchison, who became the first African-American deputy director of the National Park Service in the 1970s and was an expert in therapeutic recreation, has died. He was 84.

Hutchison died Feb. 12 of congestive heart failure at his Silver Spring home. The Park Service announced his death.

The Kansas native joined the agency in 1972 as community programs chief for the Washington region. He later served as a park superintendent in Washington and in New York City.

Hutchison was named deputy director in 1977 and later moved to the Interior Department to increase opportunities for women and minorities.

Hutchison was born in Topeka, Kan., and graduated from Kansas State University. He pioneered rehabilitative recreation for 13 years at Topeka State Hospital.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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