Ernest H. Wackwitz, 83, an artist and a retired purchasing agent for the Prince George's County public schools, died Wednesday after a stroke at Washington Hospital Center.

Mr. Wackwitz was born in the Choctow Indian territory of Oklahoma, and spent several years as a child in Germany, his parents' homeland. The family returned to the United States in 1907, and settled in Pueblo, Colo.

He attended the University of Denver, majoring in fine arts, until the start of World War 1. He enlisted in the Army and served with a British infantry unit.

After the war, Mr. Wackwitz was a trapper and an artist in Cleary, Alaska. His painting decorated the "Winnie Mae," the plane flown in the first around-the-world flight by Post and Gatty in 1933. He also was aboard a historic flight from Fairbanks to Russia and made one of the first radio broadcasts from an airplane in 1934.

Mr. Wackwitz came to this area and built a home in Mitchellville, Md., in the 1930s. He retired in 1955 after many years with the Prince George's schools.

Mr. Wackwitz also conducted art workshops for county teachers and students with his wife, Mary Beth, who was art supervisor for the school system.

He is survived by his wife, of the home in Mitchellville; two sisters Charlotte Dougherty, of Rocky Hill, N.J., and Erna W. Turner, of Hanna, Wyo., and a brother, Fred, of Fairbanks.