William J. Smith, 73, a civic leader in Washington for many years, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in Shadyside, Md.

In 1952, he was one of nine leading citizens to be named by the D.C. commissioners to a newly created Citizens' Advisory Council.

Mr. Smith was elected first vice chairman of the council in 1956, and continued to serve until 1961.

Mr. Smith, a former member of the legal staff of the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co., lived in Southeast Washington. He was a charter member and first president of the Summit Park Citizens Association there.

He also helped organize the Southeast Council of Citizens Association and served as its president. In 1956 he was elected vice president of the Federation of Citizens Associations. He had been active in the federation for many years.

Mr. Smith had been a member of the Anacostia Lion term Lion Glub for $300 years and was a past governor of Distr 22-C of the Lions Club. Recently he was awarded life membership in Lions International.

He was former president of the Easter Branch of the YMCA, director of the Washington Boys Club and a board member of Ryland Methodist Church.

Born in Annapolis, Mr. Smith attended St. John's College there andBliss Electrical Engineering School in Washington.

He joined C&P in 1928 as an engineer and was active in its employes' labor union. Studying at night, he earned a law degree from the former National University.

He transferred to the legal staff of the company and handled damages, claims and contracts until his retirement in 1965.

Mr. Smith then moved to Shadyside, where he helped organize and became president of the Association of Property Owners of South Anne Arundel County. The association worked for property tax relief bill and funds for sewers and additional police and paramedic services in that area.

Mr. Smith was past exalted ruler of Deale Elks Lodge No. 2528.

He is survived by his wife, Helen Heinbuch Smith, of the home; a son, William Joseph H. of Washington; a daughter, Joy Gayle, of Beverly Hills, Calif; a brother, J. Burton Smith, of Annapolis; a sister, Edythe Robinson, of Biloxi, Miss., and two grandchildren.