Joseph J. Oulahan, 82, a retired employe of the National Security Agency and a former motion picture exhibitor, died Friday at the Collingswood Nursing Center in Rockville. He had emphysema.

Mr. Oulahan, who was born in Washington, served in the Army in France during World War I. After the war, he returned here and went to work for the Paramount Pictures Exchange, a motion picture distribution company, in Washington and Baltimore. He later became the manager of the firm's Cincinnati office.

In 1949, he moved to Gloucester, Va., and owned and operated movie theaters in Gloucester, Callao and Warsaw, Va., and White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

He returned to the Washington area in 1957 and joined the NSA. He retired in 1968.

Mr. Oulahan, who lived in Bethesda, had been the Chief Barker of the Cincinnati Variety Club during his years in that city. He also was an honorary Kentucky colonel.

Survivors include his wife, Ann M., of Bethesday; one son, Joseph C., of Chesapeake, Va.; two daughters, Nancy O. Kilcoyne, of Washington, and Carol Ol. Cardarelli, of Springfield, Va.; ten grandchildren, and one greatgrandson.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a charity of one's choice.