Charles W. Smith, 63, a lawyer and a retired employe of the Department of the Interior, died of cancer Oct. 31 at Washington Hospital Center.

Mr. Smith was born in Scotland Neck, N.C. He attended North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro and then entered the Army in World War II. He was discharged as a first lieutenant in 1946, and moved to Washington to work for the Interior Department. He worked on geological services until his retirement in 1974.

He carried on a career in law at the same time. He had earned a law degree at American University in 1954. After passing the D.C. bar exam, he began the general practice of law with Ruth E. Hankins in the firm of Hankins and Smith. He remained active in the firm until his death.

A member of the Metropolitan baptist Church, Mr. Smith served on its board of deacons and taught in the men's Bible class for more than 20 years. He also was a member of the church's Men's Club and music committee.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mildred Hughes, of the home in Washington; three sisters, Pearlie L. Smith, Mary S. Harrell and Hattie S. Thomas, and two brothers, Peter and Davie, all of Washington.