James Ord, 86, a retired mining engineer and a member of the U.S. baloon observation unit of the Signal Corps in France during World War I, died July 6 at the Wisconsin Avenue Home after a long illness.

Mr. Ord, who was born at Ford Missoula, Montana, lived in Chevy Chase from 1901 to 1915. He graduated from the old Washington "Tech" High School here and then attended the Colorado School of Mines and Michigan Technological University.

An amateur musician Mr. Ord was cited by the U.S. Army for his work as an entertainer after the end of World War I. He volunteered to stay in Europe after the war and organized a musical group of soldiers. Mr. Ord played piano and steel guitar with the group, which toured base hospitals, entertaining soldiers who were too ill to return home.

Before joining the balloon unit, Mr. Ord was assistant superintendent of the Mond Nickel in Sudbury, Ont. After the war, he worked in several mines, in the southwest United States.

He later worked as an engineer for the Air Force at Ft. Hamailton Air Base for 12 years before retiring.Mr. Ord was a member of The Society of American Military Engineers.

He is survived by a sister, Vida Alexander, of Washington.