Walter J. Wall, 88, who had been associated with the shipping business for most of his life, died Monday at the Sleepy Hollow Nursing Home in Annandale after suffering a stroke. He had lived there for about two months.

Mr. Wall formerly was vice president and a director is charge of foreign freight forwarding in the New York offices of Robert H. Wall Inc., steamship arcents, which was founded by his son. He had joined the tirm in 1966 after retiring from United States Lines.

He moved to this area seven years ago and lived at Vinson Hall in McLean until recently.

Mr. Wall was born in New York City. He served as a Navy officer during World War I. He then worked for Cunard Lines and Anchor Lines until joining the United States Lines. He was with that company in this country and abroad.

During World War II, Mr. Wall helped evacuate American civilians from London and Navy wives and families from Shanshai and the Philppines. He also served in London, Paris and Antwerp with the U.S. War Shipping Administration, then returned to United States Lines in Paris after the war.

He is survived by his son, Robert H. of McLean: a daughter, Mrs. Alan Covy. of Palos Veroes Calif: a sister, Catherine Rosen, of Brooklyn, N.Y., and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Vinson Hall.