Bernard J. Casassa, 54, a building contractor and former member of the Calvert County Council, died of lung cancer Sunday at his home in Bowie.

Mr. Casassa operated his own building firm for many years and did work on numerous private and federal projects. He also was manager and operator of the Bowieland Development Corp.

In addition to serving on the Calvert County Council, he was a past president of the Bowie Democratic Club and was a former Democratic precinct chairman in Bowie.

Mr. Casassa was born in Washington and remained in this area all of his life. He was a magna cum laude graduate of St. John's College in Annapolis. He was a star athlete there and later served on the school's alumni board.

He also was active in the Big Brothers Club in Georgetown and was a volunteer with the Boys Club of Washington, of which his late brother, Paul, was director.

Since his retirement in 1975 due to illness, Mr. Casassa had participated in programs at the National Cancer Institute to seek a cure for lung cancer.

Survivors include his wife, Dolores, of the home in Bowie; three daughters, Kathleen, Louise, and Suzanne, also of the home; and a sister, Marie Regina Patlen, of Silver Spring.