Joseph F. Elward Jr., 68, director of program control of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, died Saturday at Fairfax Hospital following a heart attack.

He joined Metro when it was formed in 1968 and set up the office of program control to handle construction scheduling, estimating and cost engineering.

Before joining Metro, Mr. Elward was a civilian employe of the U.S. Air Force. His last position had been deputy regional civil engineer for the Ohio River Region, with headquarters in Cincinnati. He was responsible for the Air Force military construction program in nine states.

Mr. Elward was born in Indianapolis. He studied engineering at Notre Dame University and worked for the Indianapolis Railways Inc. during summers. He joined the railway company full-time in 1931 and helped establish trackless trolley transit systems in Indianapolis and Toledo, Ohio.

He joined the Indianapolis Power and Light Co. in 1939 and studied engineering at the Purdue University Extension School at night.

In World War II, Mr. Elward entered the U.S. Army Air Corps, later transferring to the Army Corps of Engineers. He served in the Aleutians and Alaska and received the Legion of Merit.

He joined the Air Force as a civilian in 1947 and first worked out of Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama as an electrical engineer.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret E., of the home in McLean.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church building fund in McLean.