JOSEPH FICKLING WOOD, 74, a retired civil engineer for the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and a founder of Coleman and Wood Inc. contractors in Silver Spring, died Friday at Georgetown University Hospital after a heart attack.

A native Washingtonian, Mr. Wood graduated from McKinley Technical High School and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from George Washington University.

He worked for the old Coast and Geodetic Survey before transferring to the Navy Department's old Bureau of Yards and Docks in 1941.

In 1964, he transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, from which he retired in 1966.

From 1946 to 1948, he was associated with the Coleman and Wood contracting firm, which he helped found.

Mr. Wood lived in Washington. He was an active member of All Saints Episopal Church and a member of the National Cahterdral Association. He also was a member of the Masons, Hiram Lodge No. 10.

He was a past treasurer and current chairman of the nominating committee of Chapter 460 of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Survivors include his wife, Esther Evans Wood, of Washington; a son, Joseph F. II of Cincinnati; two brothers, William W., of Venice, Fla., and Edgar W., of Richmond, Va., and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympahty be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Association or to the Washington Cathedral.