Theodore Edward Norton, 73, a retired marine engineer with the Navy Department, died Tuesday at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital, where he was under treatment for leukemia.

At the time of his retirement in 1967, he was chief engineer in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and pump unit of the auxillary equipment branch in the Naval Ship Systems Command.

Mr norton joined the Navy Department's old bureau of engineering here in 1934 and later was with the bureau of ships for many years. He received both the Distinguished and the Meritorious Civilian Service awards.

He was born in Wellsville, N. Y. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institue of Technology, where he received a master's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering. He was an engineer with Ingersoil Rand in New York before coming here.

Mr Norton was a member of the American Society of Naval Engineers, the Sons of the American Revolution and the National Genealogical Society.

He is survived by his wife, Honor Randall Norton, of the home in Arlington; three daughters, Jane Fowler, of Huntingtown, Md., Mary Elizabeth Dryden, of Tueson, Ariz., and Honor States Johnson, of Crofton, and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Leukemia Society of America. CAPTION: Picture, THEODORE EDWARD NORTON