Joseph F. Nebel, 82, founder and president of the old Joseph F. Nebel Co. Inc., a general contracting firm in the Washington area, died at the Bethesda Convalescent and Nursing Center Thursday of a stroke.

Mr. Nebel organized the firm that bore his name in 1947 and continued to operate it until his retirement in 1964, when he closed it. Among the buildings on which he worked were the Equitable Life Insurance offices on Wisconsin Avenue, the headquarters of the National Education Association at 16th and M Streets NW, the chapel and library building of Catholic Univeristy, and the offices of the Apostolic Delegate. The company also worked on the NBC studios on Nebraska Avenue NW.

Mr. Nebel was born in Baltimore. His family moved to Newark, N. J., and then to Washington when he was 13 years old. He went to work as an office boy for the Arthur L. Smith Co., a local builder, after his arrival here.

In 1936, Mr. Nebel became a partner in the Hartwood-Nebel Co., another construction firm. He remained with them until he founded his own company.

Mr. Nebel was a president of the old Washington Board of Trade and of the Metropolitan Police Boys Club. He was a life member of the Columbia Country Club.

Survivors include his wife, Rosalie of the Bethesda nursing center; three daughters, Dorothy Harr, of Wallops Island, va., Rosalie Douglas, of Princess Anne, Md., and Delores Andrews, of Port Tobacco, Md.; one son, J. Bernard, of Silver Spring; 15 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.