Charles Henry Howe Jr., 65, who served as Montgomery County's first fire marshal from 1949 to 1968, and then as fire protection engineer until retiring in 1976, died of cancer May 11 at Holy Cross Hospital.

Mr. Howe was a civilian employe of the Army Corps of Engineers in Baltimore during World War II.

From 1947 to 1949, he was chief engineer for public protection for the Maryland Fire Underwriters Rating Bureau.

Mr. Howe was a native of New York City, and earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from Rutgers University.

He was a charter member and first president of the Chesapeake chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

He also had been president of the Takoma Valley Elementary School PTA.

Mr. Howe received a number of awards for his fire prevention work, including a 1972 award from the Potomac Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

He is survived by his wife, Doris B., a son, Anthony S., and a daughter, Jeannie L., all of the home in Takoma Park; another daughter, Elizabeth T., of Hyattsville; three other sons, Charles III and Peter R., both of Silver Spring, and Duncan B. of Pullman, Wash.; a sister, Marjory Jones, of Scotch Plains, N.J.; a brother, Townsend S., of New London, N.J., and one grandchild.

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