Earl von Starch, 77, a retired official with the Urban Renewal Administration of the Housing and Home Finance Agency, died Sunday at George Washington University Hospital.
A spokesman for the D.C. Medical Examiner's Office said death was due to asphyxia when he choked while eating.
Mr. von Storch retired in 1964 as director of project planning and engineering at the Urban Renewal Administration, where he had worked since 1954.
Before that, he had been project development director and then deputy administrator of the National Capital Housing Authority for three years.
He was born in Dalton, Pa. and earned a degree in architecture from Pennsylvania State University. After working for a New York firm as an architect, he became an urban planner in the mid-1930s with the Michigan State Planning Commission.
Mr. von Storch came to Washington during World War II to work for the National Housing Agency on early studies of urban development. From 1949 until his return here in 1951, he headed a team that prepared a study for the rezoning of New York City's five boroughs.
He was a member of the American Institute of Planners, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials and the National Housing conference.
He is survived by his wife, Anne, of Washington.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Psychiatric Institute Foundation here, or to the Dorothy von Storch Memorial, D.C. Chapter, American Cancer Society, named for his first wife, who died in 1953.