Vice Adm. Robert Bruce Brown, 69, former surgeon general of the Navy and chief of the Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, died of cancer Saturday at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va.

Adm. Brown was born in Meadville, Pa. He graduated from Allegheny College there and then went to the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine, specializing in surgery.

Adm. Brown entered the Navy in 1942. His assignments included working at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia as assistant to the chief of surgery, serving on the U.S.S. Solace, a hospital ship, serving as chief of surgery at the Naval Hospital in Annapolis, and on the hospital ship U.S.S. Repose during the Korean war.

In 1951, Adm. Brown reported for duty as chief of surgery at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. In 1960, he took command of the entire facility, and a year later, he was promoted to rear admiral.

In 1963, he was appointed assistant chief of personnel and professional operations at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery of the Navy. He became the deputy and assistant chief of the bureau in 1964.

The next year, he was appointed surgeon general of the Navy and chief of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and was promoted to vice admiral. He held that position until his retirement in 1969, when he moved to Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Adm. Brown was an associate member of the Clinical Pathological Society, American Medical Association, the Society of University Association, and the International Surgical Society.

Survivors include his wife, Jane R., of the home in Kitty Hawk; a daughter, Jean Cox, of Evansville, Ind.; a sister, Martha Hogan, of Meadville, and four grandchildren.