Retired Army Col. George Avery Chester, 78, a veteran of World War II who later was chief of Army intelligence operations with the 7th Army in Europe, died of cancer Friday at the Christian Science Benevolent Association home in Chestnut Hill, Mass., where he had resided for six weeks.

Col. Chester, who had lived in Fredericksburg, Va., since 1958, had been associated with the real estate business in the Washington area in recent years.

He was chief of intelligence operations with the 7th Army in Europe from 1953 to 1955 and served at the Pentagon here for about six months before retiring in 1956.

Earlier, Col. Chester, a career officer, had held several tours of duty at the Pentagon.

He was born in Rutherford, N.J. and earned a degree in civil engineering from Stanford University. He earned an Army commission through the National Guard.

Col. Chester was chief of staff of U.S. forces in Trinidad in 1940-42. He then served in New Guinea and the Philippines in World War II.

He was a former district governor of the Rotary clubs in Fredericksburg and a member of the city planning commission there. He was a First Reader of the First Church of Christ Science in Fredericksburg and treasurer of the Fredericksburg Ministerial Association.

His first wife, the former Violet Lercara, died here in 1957.

He is survived by his second wife, the former Esther Wemyss, of Fredericksburg; a son, George A. Jr., of Panama; a stepdaughter, Linda Carman of Lanesboro, Mass.; a brother, Harold, of Richmond, Calif., and five grandchildren.