Retired Army brigadier general John A. Berry, 69, who was a field artillery commander, died of cardiac arrest Saturday at DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir after a long illness.

He had commanded the 1st Division Artillery in 1960-61, and was commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kan., when he retired in 1961.

Born at Fort Wadsworth, N.Y., to an Army family, Gen. Berry was a graduate of the Military Academy at West Point where he later taught English and was with the Army Athletic Association.

He also taught during the 1950s at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. He commanded a field artillery battalion in Europe in World War II and later a filed artillery group in Germany.

After leaving military service, Gen. Berry was coordinator for facilities expansion at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he also was chairman of the board of Wilson Memorial Hospital.

He has been a resident of Arlington since 1970. He was active in the Military Order of the World Wars and the Uniformed Services Retirees Group.

He is survived by his wife, Janet Wilson Berry, of the home; two sons, Army Lt. Col. John A., of Fort Lewis, Wash., and Thomas W., of Chatham, N.J.; a daughter, Joan Bird, of Fort Sill, Okla.; a sister, Kathleen Gray, of New Castle, N.H., and several grandchildren.

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