Harry J. Kane Jr., 73, retired president of the Columbia Real Estate Title Insurance Co., died Wednesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital after a short illness.

He had joined the Columbia and the Real Estate Title Insurance companies in the late 1920s, when they were separate companies using joint offices.

Mr. Kane became president of both firms in 1953. They later merged into the present company. He retired as president in 1968, but remained active as chairman of the board of directors.

He also was a member of the board of directors of the First Federal Savings and Loan Association and was an advisory director and member of the real estate committee of the National Savings and Trust Co.

Born in Washington, Mr. Kane was a graduate of Gonzaga High School and the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He received a law degree from Georgetown University in 1928, and became a member of the D.C. Bar.

Considered an authority on real estate law in the Washington area, he taught real property law courses at the Columbia Law School of Catholic University and lectured to bankers, lawyers and real estate groups.

Mr. Kane was a member of the D.C. Bar Association, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the Kiwanis Club and the Columbia Country Club. He was on the board of directors of the Merrick Boys' Club.

In addition to his home in Washington, he maintained a home in Henlopen Acres near Rehoboth Beach.

He is survived by his wife, Blanche Anderson Kane, of the homes; three sons, Harry J. III, of Gaithersburg, Donald Whitney, of Rockville, and Francis J., of Washington; two sisters, Sara K. Young, of Sarasota, Fla., and Mary K. McCabe, of Denver; a brother, Al. Philip Kane, of Washington, 11 grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.