James W. Jones, 69, retired supervising director of art in the D.C. public school system, died of cancer Saturday at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

He had joined the school system in 1933 as an art assistant at the elementary school level. From 1935 to 1939 he taught at Garnet Patterson Junior High School.

Mr. Jones went on to teach art and military science at Dunbar High School before taking five years of military leave during World War II. At Dunbar, he develop a course in art appreciation.

He returned there after the war and in 1951 became head of the art department of Division 2, which consisted of all the black children in the then-segregated school system here.

He continued to do supervisory work after the schools were integrated in 1954. In 1961, he became supervising director of art for all of the school, a position he held until retiring in 1969.

An Army reserve officer, Mr. Jones became adjutant of the reorganized 366 Infantry Regiment, an all-black unit, in World War II. He designed the insignia of the regiment.

It served with 92nd Infantry Division in North Africa and Italy. He received several decorations, including the Bronze Star. He retired from the reserves in 1969 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Mr. Jones was born in Washington. He was a graduate of Dunbar High School and Howard University. He held a master's degree in the arts from Columbia University.

He had been a member of the Metropolitan A.M.E. Church since childhood. He also had served on the board of trustees of the Intenational Institute of Interior Design Inc. and as historian for the District of Columbia Art Association and the 366th Infantry Veterans Association Inc.

Mr. Jones was honored in 1952 by the Howard University Alumni, of which he was a member. He belonged to the Reserve Officers Association.

He is survived by his wife, Audery, and a daughter, Diane Carter, both of the home in Washington; his mother, Nettie I. Simms, of Hyattsville, and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Howard University Alumni Assciation or the American Cancer Society. CAPTION: Picture, JAMES W. JONES