James Augustus Brown, 76, an engineer in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia for many years and then a Washington-area real estate man, died of cancer Oct. 17 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Mr. Brown moved to Silver Spring in 1960 and had engaged in the buying and remodeling of housing, much of it in Northern Virginia, since then.

Before that time, he had been a civil engineer employed by Standard Oil for many years. The company sent him to Arabia in the late 1930s to build housing for workers for the Arabian American Oil Co., a Standard subsidiary. He also supervised construction of a 1,000-mile pipeline. Except for World War II service in the Navy, in the course of which he was wounded in the Pacific, he remained in the Middle East until 1955, when a back injury forced him to return to the United States. The injury eventually forced his retirement.

Mr. Brown was born on a farm in New Holland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Ohio as a civil engineer and also studied at Stanford University. He worked for Standard Oil in Ohio before being assigned to Arabia.

He was a big game hunter in Africa and donated several trophies to the American Legion Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, where he lived briefly before moving to Silver Spring.

Survivors include his wife, the former Henriette Shehadeh, of the home in Silver Spring; two daughters, Amanda Ayvaz, of Beirut, Lebanon and Armilda Brown, of Silver Spring; two sons, John and Justin, also of Silver Spring, and a granddaughter.