William Penn Joshua Taylor, 81, a retired employe of the General Service Administration, died of cancer Friday at the Carriage Hill nursing home in Bethesda.

He was an architect who worked for the GSA and its predecessor agency for 37 years. At the time of his retirement, he worked in the federal site acquisitions section.

Mr. Taylor had served on the boards of both Suburban Hospital and the Chevy Chase Fire Department. He also had been a member of the Montgomery Players.

He was a member of All Saints' Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase.

Mr. Taylor was a native of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and attended the University of Washington in Seattle. He worked for architectural firms in Takoma, Wash., where he helped draw the plans for the University of Puget Sound.

He served with an ambulance corps in Italy during World War I. During World War II he was a civil defense volunteer in this area.

Mr. Taylor was a resident of Chevy Chase.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Aline Harold Harrison, of Chevy Chase; a daughter, Marjorie T. Coleman, also of Chevy Chase; a sister, Gwen McQuaig of Wenatchee, Wash.; a brother, Kenneth, of Seattle, and three grandchildren.