John Murray Dervan, 66, a lawyer who headed the Veterans Administration's GI home loan program for 11 years before his retirement in 1972, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at Fairfax Hospital.

Mr. Dervan began his career in the home loan field in 1939 in New York City as a member of the legal staff of the Home Owners Loan Corporation and the Federal Savings and Loan Corp.

In World War II, he entered military service as an Army private and was discharged in 1945 as a lieutenant colonel on the War Department General Staff.

He then began his VA career here as a legal adviser in the loan guaranty service. He served as chief of the legislative and regulatory staff and as assistant director for loan policy and management before being appointed director of the service in 1961, in which capacity he became head of the GI Bill Home Loan Program.

In a Washington Post article at the time of his retirement, Mr. Dervan said that one of the greatest gratifications of his career had been the general acceptance of the concept of 100 percent financing in the GI home loan field.

Born in Dedham, Mass., he earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a law degree from Boston University. He was awarded the VA's Distinguished Career Award.

A resident of Arlington, he also maintained a home in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Survivors include his wife, the former Margaret Mahon, and a son, John M., both of Arlington; two daughters, Mary Ellen Phillips of Washington, and Kathleen Grace Hughes of Charlottesville; one brother, Dr. Edward J., of Newburyport, Mass.; three sisters, Eleanor Quinn and Louise and Catherine Dervan, all of Milton, Mass., and two grandchildren.