Edward J. (Ted) Kirkham, 68, a retired official of the old Atomic Energy Commission, died Sunday at Georgetown University Hospital after a stroke.

Mr. Kirkham joined the AEC in 1947 as an accountant. He helped develop the commission's production cost accounting system and worked as a branch chief before being named the AEC's deputy assistant controller for accounting in the early 1960s. He held that post until retiring in 1974.

Prior to joining the AEC, he had worked for five years as a cost accountant on research projects for the old Office of Price Administration.

He was a member of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington, where he had served as treasurer, deacon, elder, and clerk of session committee records.

Mr. Kirkham was a native of East Liverpool, Ohio, and a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He did graduate work and taught at the University of Illinois before joining the faculty of the University of Alabama in 1939.

Survivors include his wife, Gladys M., of the home in Arlington; his mother, Nettie Kirkham Martin, and a sister, Mildred Hoback, both of East Liverpool, and another sister, Dorothy Brown, of Parker, Pa.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Trinity Church building fund. CAPTION: Picture, EDWARD J. KIRKHAM