James F. Boyce, 52, an organist who performed in the Washington area for over 30 years, died Wednesday at his home in Alexandria after a heart attack.

Mr. Boyce, who was born in Takoma Park, graduated from Central High School. He studied at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore on a scholarship. He served in the Navy in World War II and settled in Alexandria in 1948.

Mr. Boyce began his career at the old Alexandria Arena skating rink, where he installed and played a Wurlitzer pipe organ that became his trademark during his 30 years there. He was also a staff organist at the old Virginia Theatre in Alexandria as well s the organist for St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Springfield.

During the time he lived in Alexandria, he taught organ and piano to area students. In recent years, he gave weekly organ demonstrations at the Kennedy Center. He composed and recorded several original works, one of which was "The Alexandria March."

He was a member his sister, Kathleen Ray of Alexandria, a brother, Richard, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and his mother, Mrs. Richard Boyce of Cape Coral, Fla.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a memorial fund at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Springfield.