William E. Hintz, 56, a retired director of volunteer support for the Peace Corps, died Monday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He had emphysema.

When the Peace Corps was formed in 1961, Mr. Hintz sold his roofing contracting business in his native Milwaukee to become a volunteer. He served in Nigeria, Liberia and the Phillippines before being appointed director of volunteer support in 1967. He resigned in 1971 for health reasons.

Besides maintaining records on all Peace Corps volunteers, the support office arranges leave or loans for volunteers in the event of an emergency.

Mr. Hintz, who lived in Rockville, previously worked for the State Department's old Economic Cooperation Administration in Frankfurt, Germany. It was there that he met and later married the former Harriet Dane, then a secretary for the ECA.

He attended the University of Wisconsin.

Besides his wife, survivors include a daughter, Joy Ellen, and a son, Christopher, all of the home; another daughter, Kathleen, of Des Moines; two other sons, David, of Durango, Colo., and Thomas, of Fresno, Calif.; three brothers, Gordon, Warren and Harold, all of Milwaukee, and a sister, Alice DeCosterd, of San Rafael, Calif.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Lung Association of Mid-Maryland in Rockville.