Donald W. Steele Sr., 57, associate executive director of the Air Force Association, died of cancer Thursday at Fairfax Hospital.

Mr. Steele was a cartographer for the American Automobile Association from 1947 until 1964. During that time he served as a volunteer with the Air Force Association, a private, nonprofit professional society with more than 400 chapters in 50 states.

In 1964, he joined the staff of the association as assistant for field organization. He was director of field organization and then was named associate executive director in mid-1978.

A native of Washington, Mr. Steele graduated from Eastern High School. He attended the Columbia Technical Institute and the American Institute of Banking.

He served with the Army Corps of Engineers in Europe during World War II and later with the Air Force Reserve.

Mr. Steele lived in Fairfax and attended Boulevard Baptist Church in Falls Church.

He was a Jimmy Doolittle fellow of the Aerospace Education Foundation, a life member of the Air Force Association and a member of Kemper Lodge of the Masons.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Anne Drummond, of the home; two daughters, Deborah Anne Dralle, of Burke, and Mary Catherine Morris, of Manassas; two sons, Army Capt. Donald W. Jr., of Heidelberg, Germany, and J. Gary, of Richmond; his father, Clarence W., also of the home, and six grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Aerospace Education Foundation, Washington, 20006. CAPTION: Picture, DONALD W. STEELE SR.