George Brickelmaier, 56, a retired program officer with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, died of cancer Friday at his home in Chatham, Mass.

He had joined HUD after it was established in 1965 and was program officer in the office of model cities and in the office of new communities development until retiring in 1972.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Brickelmaier graduated from Dartmouth College in 1942. During World War II, he was in the China Theater with the Office of Strategic Services.

After the war, he was with the Central Intelligence Agency until 1950.

He then left government service to become an assistant to developer Robert Davenport during the construction of Hollin Hills, a community in Fairfax County south of Alexandria.

Mr. Brickelmaier loved in Hollin Hills, where he was active in community affairs, until 1972. He was a founding member of the Mount vernon Unitarian Church and sang in its choir.

In 1958, he became chief program coordinator of the District Redevelopment Land Agency. He left RLA in 1961 to become technical standards coordinator of the Urban Renewal Adminsitration, a position he held until joining HUD.

After his retirement from HUD, Mr. Brickelmaier moved to La Jolla, Calif., where he was general manager of the California office of American Medical Buildings, Inc. He had lived in Chatram since 1976.

He is survived by his wife, June Bradford Brickelmaier of the home; a daughter, Ann Brickelmaier of San Diego; a son, George, of San Francisco, and his mother, Dorothy Brickelmaier, of Chatham.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Sidney Fraber Cancer Institute in Boston.