Paul H. McMurray, 83, a retired commissioner of the U.S.Court of Claims and a retired colonel in the Army Reserves who served in the Middle East during yworld War II, died of a pulmonary embolism July 26 at Holy Cross Hospital.

Col. McMurray, who was born in Hillsboro, Tex., served in the Army in World War I. In 1919, he moved to Washington and worked for the old Bureau of War Risk Insurance. He also earned a law degree from Goerge ywashington University.

In 1930, he became a legal consultant with the newly created Veterans Administration and remained there until he returned to active duty with the Army in World War II.

He went to North Africa as a member of the Judge Advocate General's Corps. In 1943, he was appointed judge advocate general for U.S. forces in the Middle East and chief of claims for the Middle East and African theaters.

In 1946, Col. McMurray returned to civilian life and was appointed by President Harry S. Truman to the Board of Veteran Appeals. In 1951, he ws appointed a commissioner with the U.S. Court of Claims. He retired in 1967.

Col. McMurray, who lived in Washington, was a Mason. He also was a member of the D.C. and the Texas bar associations, the Judge Advocates Association, the Reserve Officers Association and the George Washington University Law Association. He was a past commander of the Sgt. Jasper Post of the American Legion. He had been president of the board of stewards and the board of trustees of the Mt. Vernon Place Methodist Church.

His wife of 49 years, Hazel M. McMurray, died in 1977.

Survivors include a son, Maj. Donald B. McMurray, of El Paso, Texas; a daughter, Marilyn Rishell of Potomac; three brothers, Homer of Potomac and Oscar and C.L., both of Texas; four sisters, Ona Mae McMurray, Ruby Lee Foster, Mary Ruth Allen and Florence Montgomery, all of Texas, and six grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Mt. Vernon Place Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave., Washington, D.C., 20001.