William Lewis Nesley, 62, a retired Air Force colonel who became an official of a commercial building and development firm in the Washington area, died of cancer Sunday at his home in Alexandria.

Col. Nesley was born in Grady, Ark., and grew up in St. Louis, Mo. He earned a bachelor's degree in mining engineering at the University of Missouri in 1941. He took a master's degree in meterology at the California Institute of Technology in 1943 and at the same time was commissioned in the old Army Air Forces. During World Was II, he served in the Pacific.

After the war, Col. Nesley, who continued to specialize in meterology, served at various military installations in the United States and Europe. He was attached to the Defense Intelligence Agency in Washington when he retired in 1967.

Col. Nesley had taken graduate courses in business administration at Ohio State and American universities. His second career was in real estate and he began as a salesman and broker. In 1973, he joined Coakley & Williams, Inc., a development firm in Kensington. He held that position until he retired in January.

He was a member of the Retired Officer's Association and the Army-Navy Country Club in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife, the former Wilma Glen, of Alexandria; one daughter, Diane Pamela Nesley, of Arlington; one son, William Franklin Nesley, of Alexandria, and one brother, Frederick, of Belleville, Mich.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia, Arlington, Va.