William Joseph Hunter, 70, a retired senior industrial engineer in the executive office of the secretary of the Navy, died of pnuemonia Sunday at the Greenbelt Convalescent Center in Greenbelt.

Mr. Hunter was born in New York City. He studied drafting at the Pratt Institute and became a draftsman for the Babcock and Wilcox construction company.

He began his government career in 1939 when he joined the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. While there, he earned a degree in industrial engineering from Rutgers University by attending night classes. In 1957, he was transferred to the management office in the Navy Department in Washington. He was a senior engineer at the time of his retirement in 1970.

For several years Mr. Hunter also was chairman of a Civil Service Commission panel screening engineering candidates who had applied to the Navy Department.

He lived in Lanham and was a member of the parish of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Cheverly. He also was director of its Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program, which is for Catholic children attending public schools. He was a member of the Rutgers Alumni Association.

Survivors include his wife Martha, of Lanham; three daughters, Martha Robey, of Glenn Dale, Cecilia McCord, of Prince Frederick, Md., and Patricia King, of Laurel; one son, William R., of Lanham; a sister, Mary Hunter, of Jersey City, N.J., and four grandchildren.