John Lowe Newbold, 76, retired president and chairman of the board of the Merchants Transfer and Storage Co. and a former member of the board of directors of the old District Redevelopment Land Agency, died of cancer Tuesday at his Washington home.

Mr. Newbold was president of Merchants Transfer and Storage, a family business founded in the late 1880s, from 1931 until his retirement in 1975, when he sold the company.

He was an officer and director of the National Furniture Warehousemen's Association and United Van Lines and a director of the International Bank of Washington since 1951.

From 1959-65, he was a member of the policy-making board of the District Redevelopment Land Agency, the city's urban renewal agency that became part of the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development in 1975.

Mr. Newbold, a native Washingtonian, attended St. Albans School for Boys here and graduated from Yale University. He was commissioned in the Army Reserve in 1933.

In World War II, he served as a lieutenant colonel and chief of the procurement section of the Selective Service System and with the Persian Gulf Command.

Mr. Newbold was a past president of the Metropolitan Club of Washington and the Chevy Chase Club.

His marriage to the former Mariamne Meade Morris ended in divorce. His second wife, the former Katharine Emily Wilkins, died in 1979.

Survivors include a daughter, Mariamne Newbold Rublee of Panama City; two sons, John Lowe III of Summit, N.J., and Nicholas W., of Chevy Chase, and 10 grandchildren. A son, Fleming, died in 1978.