William R. Magness, 52, a former Washington resident and an executive of the International Pipe & Steel Company of Canada, died of a brain hemorrhage Wednesday while on a business trip in St. Paul, Minn. He lived in Regina, Sask.

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Magness came to Washington with his parents in 1936 and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1942. In 1948, he received a bachelor's degree in medical engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

He was enrolled in the Navy's V-12 program during World War II, and later did graduate work in business administration.

Before joining International Pipe & Steel in 1975, Mr. Magness had been vice president for research with Luria Brother & Co., an international scrap metal firm, in New York and Chicago. He also worked for the Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and for Procter & Gamble in Baltimore and Cincinnati.

Surviving are his wife, the former Catherine Ferguson, of the home; two daughters by a previous marriage, Sarah, of Appleton, Wis; and Holly of Chicago; two stepsons, David, of the home, and Gregory, of St. Paul, and a stepdaughter, Ann Ferguson of the home; his mother, Agnes, and a brother, Fred, both of Seabrook, Md.