Dr. Theodore R. Pinckney, 80, retired medical officer with the D.C. Department of Transportation who was a Washington physician and clinical instructor at the Howard University medical school for 37 years, died of renal failure July 5 at Howard University Hospital. He had cancer.

Dr. Pinckney, who had lived in Washington since he was a child, was born in Albany, N.Y. He was a 1919 graduate of Dunbar High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1923 at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. He earned a medical degree at Indiana University in 1929.

He served with the old Army Air Forces as a medical officer during World War II. He was also a member of the Air Force Reserves.

He established his medical practice here and joined the Howard University faculty as an instructor of pharmacology and orthopedic surgery in 1932. He retired from his practice and Howard in 1969, when he joined the D.C. Department of Transportation. He retired a second time earlier this year.

Dr. Pinckney served with the Selective Service Board in Washington until the 1960s. He received the city's Meritorious Public Service Award.

He was a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, and a member of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia, the American Medical Association, the Rheumatism Society of the District of Columbia and Davies Memorial Unitarian Church in Camp Springs.

Survivors include his wife, Hermena C. Pinckney, and a son, Theodore C., both of Washington; a sister, Mae P. McGee of Upper Marlboro; seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.