John T. Hopkins Jr, 54, assistant chief in the U.S. Geological Survey's Publications Division, died of cancer Tuesday at the Loudoun Memorial Hospital in Leesburg.

He joined the survey in 1947. He was a cartographer by training, and began his career as an engineering draftsman in the office of illustrations.

Mr. Hopkins was named head of the Survey's Kentucky project illustrations office in 1961. Stationed in Lexington, Dy., he directed a cartographic staff that prepared 750 quadrangle maps that included the entire state of Kentucky.

Returning to Wahington in 1969, he became the first research cartographer in the survey's publications division before being named an assitant chief in the division.

Mr. Hopkins was a native of Washington and a 1941 graduate of Gonzaga High School.

He served as a bomber pilot with the Army Corps in Europe during World War II. In 1945 his B-26 was shot down over Cologne, Germany, and Mr. Hopkins and his crew were taken prisoner. The later escaped to Allied lines. Among the military decorations he received were the Air Medal with five Oak Leaf Clusters and a Purple Heart.

Mr. Hopkins belonged to the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping and the American Society of Cartographers.

He received the Department of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award in 1971.

He is survived by his wife, Helen; a daughter, Julie, and three sons, Robert, Patrick and Jeffrey, all of the home in Sterling, Va.; two other sons, Gregory, of Reston, and Michael, of Lexington, and a sister, Betty Shallcross, of Sterling Park.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Vincent Lombardi Memorial Cancer Research fund at Georgetown University or the Loudoun Memorial Hospital Fund in Leesburg.