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In Memoriam: William D. English

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With sadness we note the passing of William D. English. His obituary in The Washington Post states:

William D. English, 88, a lawyer who specialized in satellite telecommunications and who retired as general counsel of the satellite phone communications system Iridium, died Jan. 3 at his home in Bethesda. He had Parkinson’s disease.

His wife, Nancy English, confirmed the death.

Mr. English came to the Washington area in the early 1950s to work as a trial lawyer in the Justice Department’s criminal division. From 1956 to 1962, he was a senior lawyer at the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, where he worked on negotiations involving nuclear inspections and transport as well as the development of nuclear power plants.

In the late 1960s, he was an assistant general counsel at the new Communications Satellite Corp. (Comsat), the federally created provider of satellite telecommunications. He also became counsel to the board of Intelsat, the global communications satellite system. He played a key role in joint ventures between Comsat and satellite communications entities in other countries.

Mr. English remained a top legal executive with telecommunications businesses including Satellite Business Systems, a satellite communications venture of Comsat, IBM and the Aetna life insurance company.

From 1992 until his retirement in 1996, Mr. English was senior vice president and general counsel of Iridium. The company, then a subsidiary of Motorola, went bankrupt but has since been revived. . . .