Douglas H. Gillette, 87, a colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers who worked on the renovation of the White House before his retirement in 1953 and on the preservation of Mount Vernon earlier in his career, died of arteriosclerosis Dec. 27 at the Kensington Gardens Nursing Home in Kensington.

From 1930 to 1933, Col. Gillette was stationed in Washington as chief engineer of the National Captial Park and Planning Commission. During this tour of duty, he helped plan Rock Creek and Potomac parkways and also assisted in the structural preservation of Mount Vernon.

He was born in Chicago into a military family and grew up at various Army posts in this country. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in the Class of 1915. Apart from his assignments here, he was an assistant military attache in the U.S. Embassy in London in the early 1920s and was a military attache in Brazil from 1938 to 1941.

During World War II, he served in the Pacific and later in Italy. He was in Greece immediately after the war.

In 1948, he was ordered to Washington and was named assistant executive director for the Commission on the Renovation of the Executive Mansion. He retired from that post in 1953 and lived in Washington.

A few years ago, he moved to Wheaton, where he lived with a daughter, Helen Gillette. He had been in the Kensington Gardens Nursing Home for the last few months.

Col. Gillette's first wife, the former Dorothy Kyme, died in 1961.

In addition to his daughter, of Wheaton, survivors include his wife, Dorothea Mary Gillette of California; two other daughters, Jo Anne Hankins of Bangkok, Thailand, and Shirley Scalley of Arlington, and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Support Center, Inc., 12210 Bushey Dr., Wheaton, Md., 20902, a facility for senior citizens, or to the American Cancer Society.