Charles Nicholas Graham, 77, a retired director of the bureau of reports in the Interstate Commerce Commission and a former member of the Arlington County Board, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Arlington.

Mr. Graham was an economist by training, a former employe of the Minnesota Highway Department and the U.S. Bureau of Roads, a former president of the Madison Manor Citizens Association and the McKinley Elementary School PTA in Arlington, and A Navy veteran of World War II.

He joined the ICC in 1955 as head of the bureau of reports and remained there until his retirement in 1973.

A native of Oelwein, Iowa, Mr. Graham graduated from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. He taught briefly at Berea College in Berea, Ky. He earned a master's degree in economics at the University of Minnesota and worked for an insurance company in St. Paul and then the Minnesota Highway agency.

In 1942, he was commissioned in the Navy and served in this country in World War II.

In 1948, Mr. Graham joined the Bureau of Public Roads and remained with that agency until he transferred to the ICC. His first assignment was in Manila, the Philippines. In 1950, he moved to this area and had lived in Arlington since. He served on the County Board in the 1950s.

Mr. Graham was a member of the Kemper Masonic Lodge.

Survivors include his wife, the former Jean Gordon Wooley, whom he married in 1942, of Arlington, and three sons, Keith Gordon, of Annadale, Lance Charles, of Boston, and Neil Eliot, of Arlington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.