James David Murray, 60, a specialist in industrial education for the Agency for International Development for the past 18 years, died of cancer Sunday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital in Arlington.

Murray joined AID in 1960. His service included assignments in Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Pakistan and Panama. He served in Washington from 1968 to 1970 and had returned here last year from Pakistan. He was chief of the agency's Asia training branch at the time of his death.

Mr. Murray was born in Bird Island, Minn. After World War II service in the Navy, he earned a degree in education from Mankato College, a part of the University of Minnesota, in 1949.

He then moved to California and earned a master's degree in education from Stanford University. He taught at San Jose City College in California until 1958, when he went to the Philippines as an adviser on industrial education for Stanford.

In 1963, Mr. Murray received an AID incentive award for his work in Korea. In 1977, he received an honorary degree from the Korean Agricultural Education Association.

Survivors include his wife, Ruht, of the home in Arlington: three sisters, Irene Morgan, of Portland, Ore., Mrs. Clarence J. Smith, of Fresno, Calif., and Mrs. Frank Simone, of Cleveland, Ohio, and two brothers, william Murray, of St. Paul, Minn., and Robert Murray, of Portland, Ore.

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