Hugh A. Carter, 67, a retired payroll supervisor for Howard University who was honored for his civic and community work, died Monday at the Washington Hospital Center after a heart attack. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Carter joined Howard University in 1954 as an invoice clerk and was promoted to payroll supervisor a short time later. He held that position until 1971, when he stopped working because of a heart ailment. He formally retired last June.

A native of Staunton, Va., Mr. Carter attended Virginia State College there. During World War II, he was an Army sergeant and served in Europe. He later earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Howard and did graduate work at American University.

Earlier this year, Mr. Carter received awards from the Brightwood Community Association for his service as the association's first vice president and from the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations as "the most outstanding member of the Brightwood Association for 1980-81."

He was a member of Peoples Congregational Church here and the Peoples Progressive Circle, as well as the of the board of directors of the church's credit union. He also was a member of the Batchelor-Benedict Social Club in Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 31 years, Willa, of Washington, and a brother, Robert, of Staunton.