Retired Navy Capt. Walter Frederick Christmas, 82, a naval architect who headed the maintenance division of the Bureau of Ships here during World War II, died Tuesday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center after a heart attack.

Capt. Christmas, who was born in Pittsburgh, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1920 and earned a master's degree in naval architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In the 1920s and 1930s, he served aboard the aircraft carrier Saratoga, at Navy yards in this country and in the Philippines, and at the Naval Academy, where he taught electrical engineering and physics. From 1934 to 1938, he supervised hull construction for cruisers and destroyers at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. He then was transferred to Washington and assigned to the Navy Department's Bureau of Construction and Repair.

In 1941, he was assigned to the Bureau of Ships as head of the maintenance division, which was responsible for all naval ship repair during the war. He received a commendation from the Secretary of the Navy.

After the war, Capt. Christmas held various posts in California and the Panama Canal Zone. He then returned to Washington and the Navy Department. He was deputy director of the Office of Naval Materiel when he retired in 1951.

After retiring, Capt. Christmas was a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences and taught mathematics part time at Columbia Preparatory School here. He had lived in Washington since 1948.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Eleanora, of Washington; two sons, Lawrence, of Oak Park, Ill., and Walter, a retired Navy commander who lives in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Vinson Hall, McLean, Va.