Army Brig. Gen. Joseph V. Phelps, 82, a decorated combat veteran of World War II and a resident of Talbot County, Md., since retiring from active duty in 1949, died Friday in Memorial Hospital in Easton, Md. He had a heart ailment.

Gen. Phelps was promoted to brigadier general in March 1943 and was named artillery commander of the 17th Airborne Division. The division fought in Europe, taking part in the Ardennes campaign and the crossing of the Rhine, and received a Presidential Unit Citation.

Gen. Phelp's won the Silver Star and Bronze Star medals and the Legion of merit.

After the war, he was an assistant budget director at the old War Department and served on the board of the Army ground forces.

He lived in St. Michaels and was a member of the Talbot County Library Board and Christ Episcopal Church, where he was a vestryman and senior warden.

Gen. Phelps, who was born in Missouri, was a 1919 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He later graduated from the Army's Command and General Staff School. Among his assignments before World War II was teaching mathematics at West Point.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, the former Marion Duvall Hoffman, of St. Michaels; a daughter, Pattie P. Woodbury of Little Compton, R.I.; a son Jospeh V. Jr., of Fayetteville, N.Y.; seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Christ Episcopal Church in St. Michaels, or the St. Michaels branch of the Talbot County Library