Booker Tanner McGraw, 79, who died of smoke inhalation Monday during a fire in his Washington apartmernt, was a retired official of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In 1961, he had been named a special assistant to Robert C. Weaver, then Housind and Home Finance administrator. When Weaver became the first secretary HUD in 1966, Mr. McGraw went with him as the assistant for intergroup relations.

Mr. McGraw later was director of the HUD reginal support staff until retiring at the end of 1968, just before the change in administrations.

He continued to serve as a part-time lecturer in the economics department of Howard University until 1972. He also was an active member of the board of directors of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers Inc.

Mr. McGraw was born in Brooks County, Ga. A graduate of Atlanta University, he earned master's degrees from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Harvard University.

He thaught economics at Bishop College in Marshall, Tex., and was registrar and head of the department of economics and business administration at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

In 1941, Mr McGraw came to Washington as a senior economics consultant to the head of the Office of Price Administration. He joined the new National Housing Agency a year later as a consultant on minority housing.

When the agency was succeeded by the HHFA, he went on to become housing economist in the latter's office of program policy.

Mr. McGraw was active in a number of professional and civic organizations, and wrote numerous articles in his field.

There are no immediate survivors.

It is suggested that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. CAPTION: Picture, BOOKER T. McGRAW