Alanson W. Willcox, 76, former general counsel of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, died Thursday at his Washington home following a stroke.

Mr. Wilcox was born in Akron, Ohio. He earned a bachelor's degree at Cornell University and a law degree at Harvard University.

After practicing law in New York for several years, he moved to Washington in 1934, and took a job as assistant general counsel at the Treasury Department. he later worked for the Federal Security Administration, left government service briefly from 1956 to 1961, then joined HEW in 1961. He retired in 1969.

In 1976 he received the Arthur Altmeyer Award from HEW for his contributions to the department's economic security programs.

Mr. Wilcox belonged to a number of professional organizations, including the Federal Bar Association, and the Cosmos Club and American Alpine Club.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie C., of the home; two sons, Alanson W., of San Francisco, and Dana C., of Clinton, Md.; a sister, mary Wiley, of Pound Ridge, N.Y., and two brothers, Bertram F., of Ithaca, N.Y., and William B., of New Haven, Conn.

the family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Capitol Hill Community Hospital orthe Visiting Nurses Assocation of Washington.