Retired Army Col. William A. Potter Jr., 56, who was chief of the podiatry clinic at the Pentagon from 1963 to 1968, died Monday at the Army hospital at Fort Lewis, Wash., of complications following surgery.

After his tour of duty here, he was assigned to the U.S. Medical Center in Okinawa and then to Madigan General Army Hospital at Fort Lewis. He retired from military service in 1974, and practiced podiatry in Tacoma, Wash.

Col. Potter was born in Newton, Mass. He served with the Army's 326th glider infantry of the 13th Airborne Division in Europe in World War II. He earned a degree in surgical chiropody from Temple University after the war.

He practiced podiatry in Plymouth and Cape Cod, Mass., then rejoined the Army in 1957, when he was commmissioned in the Medical Service Corps. He was chief of podiatry at Fort Ord, Calif., and Fort Bragg, N.C., before his Pentagon assignment.

Col. Potter was a member of the American Podiatry Association and the American College of Podiatric Surgeons. He had been active in the Boy Scouts and the Masons.

He is survived by his wife, Jewel, of the home in Tacoma; three sons and a daughter by a previous marriage, William A. III, of Broad Run, Va., Douglas T., of Burke, Va., and Theodore B. and Penelope J. Stephens, both of Arlington; his mother, Mrs. William A. Potter Sr., of Taunton, Mass.; a brother, Jackson S., of Brookfield, Conn., and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Taunton.