Amerigo John Leone Sr., 78, who had owned and operated his own construction company in Northern Virginia for nearly 20 years before retiring in 1966, died of cancer Saturday in his home in McLean.

Mr. Leone was born in Italy and reared in Yonkers, N.Y. In 1920, he established the A. J. Leone construction company there. He moved the business to Falls Church in 1948.

In 1963, Mr. Leone and his sons, Frank and A. John Jr., became partners in the Landcraft Corp. in Alexandria. Landcraft specializes in underground utility construction projects. Mr. Leone retired in 1966, and had made his home in McLean since 1970.

Mr. Leone attended the Cooper Union Institute in New York City and earned a degree in electrical engineering at the Columbia Technical Institute in Washington.

He was a member of the George Washington Lodge of the Sons of Italy, the Edward Douglas White Council of the Knights of Columbus, and the Porto Caravan No. 104 of the International Order of the Alhambra, a Catholic charitable organization.

Mr. Leone's first wife, Eugenia V., died in 1966.

In addition to his sons, Frank, of Vienna, and A. John Jr., of Alexandria, survivors include his wife, Bridget, of McLean; two daughters, Diane Matthews of Falls Church, and Anne Robertson of Cupertino, Calif.; a stepson, William Lawlor of Englishtown, N.J.; a stepdaughter, Theresa McElhone of Arlington, and 18 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia.