James William Ward Jr., 66, a retired building inspector for the city of Alexandria who was active in volunteer church work, died of a brain tumor Wednesday at his home in Fairfax Station, Va.

Mr. Ward was born in Etowah, Tenn., and reared in Georgia. He came to this area in 1930 and was employed by the old Kann's department store in Washington. In 1936, he joined the Naval Weapons Plant at the old Navy Yard in Washington, where he supervised the boilermaker and welding shops until the plant closed in 1961.

After working as a private building consultant in the area, Mr. Ward became a building inspector for Alexandria in 1964. He retired last year.

Mr. Ward was active in the old St. Mary's Catholic Church in Fairfax Station. As a member of the church's maintenance comittee, he helped make repairs to the church and was involved in other volunteer work.

Survivors include his wife, Teresa McClellan Ward; two sons, James L., of Arlington, and John W., of Burke; two daughters, Jean T. Swanick of Virginia Beach, Va., and Julia Ann, of Fairfax Station; his step-father, William V. Warren of Fairfax; a half-sister, Myrtis Garrett of Clarkesville, Ga., and six grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Children's Hospital or the king's Daughters in Norfolk.