Retired Navy Rear Admiral William Eugene Kaitner, 74, a career officer, died Friday of cancer at the Bay of Pines Veterans Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1927, he lived in this area in the early 1950s. He was born in Kansas.

Adm. Kaitner's last assignment, from 1954 until he retired in 1957, was as chief of staff to the commander of the sixth naval district, in Charleston, S.C.

He served aboard destroyers, cruisers and the battleship Nevada, in the Pacific before returning to the Naval Academy as an instructor in ordinance in 1941.

During World War II he served in the Pacific, first as commander of the destroyer Conner, and then as executive officer of the cruiser Los Angeles.

After the war, he served as an intelligence officer in Alaska and on the staff of the Commander of Fleet Activities in Japan.

During 1950 to 1952 he worked in Washington with the Central Intelligence Agency.

Adm. Kaitner is survived by his wife, Mildred, of the home in St. Petersburg, Fla.; two daughters, Joan Lyon, of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. and Patricia Dyer, of Jacksonville, Fla., and six grandchildren.