James E. McMurrer, 89, a Veterans Administration Employe for 25 years who also was active in veterans' organizations, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Arlington.

A longtime resident of Arlington, Mr. McMurrer was born in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and came to this country in 1909. He joined the U.S. Cavalry in 1912, fought in the Mexican border disputes and in Europe during World War I.

Following his military discharge, he worked for the War Department's Office of the Quartermaster General. He transferred to the Veterans Administration in 1919, where he became a supervisor and later was involved in the selection of hospital sites.At his retirement in 1954, he was a meintenance engineer.

Mr. McMurrer was a member of the Military Order of the World War I Veterans and American Legion Post 139.

He also belonged to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Order of the Alhambra, the Elks, and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees.

In addition, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus for more than 69 years and belonged to the Edward D. White Council and the Commodore John Barry Assembly in Arlington.

He attended St. Charles Catholic Church in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife, Helen Lucille, of the home; four sons, Army Col. James E. Jr., of Heidelberg, West Germany, Joseph F., OF Leesburg, Va. the Rev. William J., of Puerto Rico, and Robert L., of Annandale; a sister, Laura Blanchard, and a brother, Peter, both of Prince Edward Island; 14 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.