James Alexander McWhorter, 72, a real estate developer and businessman in Annadale for many years, died June 1 at Baptist Hospital in Miami, Fla. He had undergone surgery for a subdurial hematoma.

Mr. McWhorter was born in Wrightsville, Ga. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he studied civil engineering, moved to the Washington area in the early 1930s.

He worked briefly as a surveyor for the government and then began his own business career. One of his first ventures became the old Annandale Water Co., now part of the Fairlax County Water Authority. He also built the Annandale Shopping Center and numerous other commercial and residential projects in the area. At the time of his death, he was president of McWhorter Properties, Inc.

In recent years, he had divided his time between his home in Annandale and homes in Marathon Shores, Fla., and at McKay's Beach at Valley Lee, St. Mary's County, Md.

Mr. McWhorter was a charter member and past president of the Annandale Kiwanis and Lions clubs and of the Annandale Businessmen's Club, now the Annandale Chamber of Commerce. He also was a member of the board of trustees of Massanutten Academy and a sponsor of the Freater Annandale Babe Rube Association.

He was a member of the National Homebuilders Association, the American Water Works Association, the National Society of Professional Engineers, the Northern Virginia Builders Association and the Virginia Association of Surveyors.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Myra Perkins McWhorter, of the homes; two sons, James A. Jr., of Miami, Fla., and Thomas R., of Savannah, G., two sisters. Bertryce Jones of Monticello, Fla., and Virginia Sanders of Wrightsville, Ga., and five grandchildren.