Legare Hill Bowles of Obear, 67, a retired head of the loan division of the Library of Congress, where he worked for 45 years, died of cancer Sunday at the home of a brother in Vienna. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Obear was born in Madison, Ga., and moved to Washington as a boy. He graduated from Eastern High School and earned bachelor's and law degrees at George Washington University.

He began his career at the Library of Congress as a student messenger in 1930 and continued to work there while pursuing his studies at George Washington. By 1941, he had become an assistant to the administrative assistant to the Librarian of Congress, who at that time was the noted poet and writer Archibald MacLeish.

After World War II service in the Army, in which he became a captain in the Adjutant General's Corps, Mr. Obear returned to the library. He held a number of administrative posts and in 1949 received a Superior Accomplishment Award for his work as the head of the Cooperative Acquisitions Project. He was named chief of the loan division in 1950 and held that post until his retirement in 1976.

Mr. Obear was a member of the American Library Association and was active on its interlibrary committee. He also was a member of the Special Libraries Association and the District of Columbia Library Association, of which he was president in 1954 and 1955.

Survivors include a brother, William Gray Obear of Vienna, and a sister, Julia Mayer of Hillsborough, Calif.