John Anthony Brown, 59, president of Muskingun College in New Concord, Ohio, and a former administrator at George Washington University, died Thursday in a hospital in St. Louis, Mo., where he had been undergoing treatment for a heart ailment.

In 1965, he was in the center of stormy battle for the presidency of George Washington University. A vice president and dean of faculties there, he was the faculty's unsuccessful choice for the top job.

Although LLoyd Elliot was chosen by the board of trustees, faculty members continued to support Dr. Brown until Elliot, who was president of the University of Maine when he was selected took over months later.

Dr. Brown then left geroge Washington in Aptil 1966 to become president of Lindenwood College in St. Charles near St. Louis. He remained there until 1973. He was a consultant in higher education for two years before taking the position at Muskingim.

He came to George Washington in 1963 as vice president for plans and resources, and year later was made professor of international affairs, vice president and dean of faculties.

Born in Harrisburg, Pa., Dr. Brown was a graaduate a master's degree at the University of Chicago. He also had taken graduate work at Princeton University. He held a number of honorary doctorates. He was a vice president at Occidental College in Los Angeles before coming here.

Over the years, he had been a consultant to the U.S. Office of Education, the Ford and Danforth foundations, the American Association of Colleges the Council for Advancement of Small Colleges and the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Alvis Brown, a son, David Conrad, and a stepson, William McClanahan, all of the home in New Concord; two other sons, John anthony, of Greenville, MIss., and Philip H. of fountain valley, Cliff., and a daughter, Barbara Churchill, of Washington.