Ramone S. Eaton, 72, a retired senior vice president of the American Red Cross here and a leading proponent of the humane treatment of prisoners of war, died Friday at a hospital in Asheville, N.C. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Eaton represented the Red Cross on humanitarian missions around the world as a neutral intermediary between nations.

During the Vietnam conflict he met several times with representatives of the North Vietnamese and Vietcong in efforts to improve treatment of U.S. prisoners of war.

Earlier, he had helped bring about the release of Cubans captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion and helped establish a relief program for Algerian refugees.

During more than 42 years with the Red Cross, Mr. Eaton was involved with the administration and direction of virtually all Red Cross services.

He first served as a Red Cross volunteer lifesaving instructor and relief worker in the mid-1920s. In 1928, he became a Red Cross field representative in the old first aid, lifesaving and accident prevention service, and later served as the service' assistant national director.

During and after World War II, as manager of the Eastern and then Western area, one of his primary roles was raising funds.

He was appointed vice president and assistant general manager at Red Cross national headquarters here in 1948. In the mid-1950s he was named vice president in charge of public relations. He was senior vice president when he retired in the early 1970s.

A former resident of Fairfax, Mr. Eaton moved to Bryson City, N.C., after his retirement.

A Rotary Club member for more than 30 years, he was president of the Fairfax Rotary Club in the early 1950s and was district governor of Rotary International in the mid-1950s.

Suvivors include his wife, Eve, of Bryson City, and two daughters, Elaine E. Way of Alexandria and Lyndle E. Smith of Simbury, Conn., two brothers, Bronson, of Atlanta, and Carlton, of Clearwater, Fla., and six grandchildren.