Wilmer Atkinson Shumar, 73, retired head of the material services branch of the Department of the Air Force, died Saturday at his home in Newington, Va., after a long illness.

He had retired in 1970 after more than 30 years of civilian service with the Air Force and its predecessor, the Army Air Forces.

Born in Mount Pleasant, Pa., Mr. Shumar started work with the Army Air Forces in Dayton, Ohio in 1938. He was considered a pioneer in the federal supply cataloguing program and was responsible for many major improvements in federal supply practices.

He traveled to Army posts throughout the world and was transferred to headquarters at the Pentagon after World War II.

Mr. Shumar later was the Air Force representative to NATO and was the U.S. member of the NATO panel that standardized the configuration of the F104G Lockheed Starfighter for NATO use.

He received the Exceptional Civilian Service Award and the Meritorious Civilian Service Citation along with other honors.

A Mason, Mr. Shumar was a member of Knights Templar.

He is survived by his wife, Frances, of the home; a son, James of Whitacre, Va.; a daughter, Jayne Evans, of Newington; a sister, Mrs. Robert Lewis, of Cleveland; nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.