Robert James George McClurkin

December 8, 1911 - May 6, 1956

By: Roger Kemps © 2012



Robert James George McClurkin was born on December 8, 1911 in Lisbon, New York.  He died on May 6, 1956 in London, England.


His parents were:

           Walter Clyde McClurkin (February 14, 1882 - June 20, 1973)

           Morna Gail McWilliams (December 23, 1883 - March 20, 1973)


His sibling was Eunice Louise McClurkin Posset (March 29, 1914 - January 19, 2015)


Robert was baptized on June 30, 1912, in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Lisbon, New York.  He appears in the 1920 US Census in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his parents and sister.  On June 30, 1927, he graduated from Allegheny High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  He was the youngest in his class and the Salutatorian. Robert shows up in the 1930 US Census in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with his parents and sister.  On February 11, 1931, Robert received his B.A. degree from the University of Pittsburgh.  In June 1932, he received his Masters Degree from the same institution. In August of 1933, Robert was elected as an elder of the Coldenham, New York RPCNA congregation.  In 1934 and 1935, Robert was teaching at the Senior School of the Perkiomen Private School for boys, near Philadelphia.


On December 24, 1935,  Robert married Mary Julia Shelton (August 21, 1911 - December 30, 2006)  in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Mary was the daughter of Whitford H. Shelton (March 31, 1885 - February 9, 1963) and Maud M. Shelton (July 10, 1881 - November 29, 1972).  Robert and Mary had three children: two boys and one girl.


In 1939, Robert had an assistant professorship at the University of Pennsylvania and was doing his final resident work for a Ph.D. degree.  The 1940 Census shows Robert, Mary and their daughter living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where Robert was a college teacher.  Later in 1940, he was teaching Economics in Muhlenberg College, Allentown, Pennsylvania.  Then, he was a professor of economics at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.  By 1942, Professor Robert J. G. McClurkin was on the Economic Defense Board as an analyst of economic reports from the Far East and moved with his family to Takoma Park, Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C.  He participated in a secret mission to India, via South America and Africa, and flew over the Hump into China.  Next, he was the assistant chief of the Air Division of the Board of Economic Warfare and Foreign Economic Administration from 1942 to 1945.  (In 1943 and 1944, Robert was the Chief Cargo Officer for the Air Transport Division of the Foreign Economic Administration).  He had wide personal observation of transport operations throughout the war and through his work with the Office of the Foreign Liquidation Commissoner.  Then, he was the director of the Aircraft Division of the Office of Foreign Liquidation Commissioner of the Department of State, where he was responsible for the sale of surplus aircraft and aeronautical equipment to foreign customers, and for negotiations concerning disposal terms for non-combat aircraft included in lend-lease settlements.  On October 30, 1946, Robert was appointed as assistant director (international) of the Economic Bureau of Civil Aeronautics Board.  During this period, Mr. McClurkin was a member of the United States delegations to the first and second assemblies of the International Civil Aviation Organization and also served on the ICAO Commission on a multilateral air transport agreement.  In 1948, the Civil Aeronautics Board announced that it had appointed Robert J. G. McClurkin as director of the Bureau of Economic Regulation.  In 1952, Robert was the Deputy Director of the Office of Northeast Asian Affairs, Bureau of Far Eastern Affairs, Department of State.

Robert J. G. McClurkin died May 6, 1956, in an Air Force Hospital at South Ruislip, near London, England, of spinal meningitis.  He had gone to London early in January, 1956, on assignment from the State Department in Washington, to study for a year at the Imperial Defense College.  His family joined him there on April 7th. Services and interment were held on May 24th at Parklawn Memorial Park and Menorah Gardens in Rockville, Maryland. To see an image of the headstone, see this link.


The majority of this biographical information is contained in various issues of  the "Christian Nation" and "The Covenanter Witness;" periodicals of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. See the life summary for further details.



Reference files:


1920 Walter McClurkin.jpg see line 28

1930 Walter McClurkin.jpg see line 25

1930 Whitford Shelton.jpg  see lines 94 - 98

1940 Robert McClurkin.jpg  see line 20

Life Summary from numerous issues of the "Christian Nation" and "The Covenanter Witness"

Official Register of the United States 1952  see pages 28 & 758

Robert J McClurkin Obituary in the Washington Post May 24, 1956 (there is an error in names of his children)

Whitford Shelton Obituary in the Washington Post February 11, 1963 (Robert's father-in-law)

Maud Shelton Obituary in the Washington Post November 30, 1972  (Robrt's mother-in-law).

Reformed Presbyterian Ministers 1950 1993.pdf  see page 109, right column

Mary_Julia_McClurkin SSDI.pdf



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