Retired Marine Col. William W. Paca, 82, who was active in the preservation of the Annapolis house of William Paca, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, died of cancer Friday at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Wilmington, Del.

Col. Paca moved to Annapolis after retiring from the Marine Corps in 1953. The Paca House was part of the old Carvel Hall Hotel. The hotel was destroyed by fire. The Paca House, undamaged by the fire, was threatened with destruction for the development of an office complex.

A campaign to preserve the old house was started and Col. Paca was active in it. The house was declared a national historic landmark by former interior secretary Rogers C. B. Morton in 1972. It is maintained by Historic Annapolis Inc.

In addition to working for the preservation and restoration of the Paca House, Col. Paca also was active in locating some of its original furnishings. A descendant of William Paca, he worked on the genealogy of the Paca family as part of the project.

Col. Paca, who moved to Newark, Del., about a year ago, was born in Baltimore. He graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1917, and served as an Army officer until 1920. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1923. His assignments included Haiti, Nicaragua, China, Washington, and during World War II, Hawaii.

Survivors include his wife, Louise, of the home in Newark; two sons, William W. Jr., of Richmond, and David W., of Newark; a sister, Dorothy Paca, of Chestertown, Md., and seven grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Paca House Restoration Fund, c/o Historic Annapolis Inc., 18 Pinkey St., Annapolis, 21401.