Milton Ellsworth Kettler, 59, board chairman and cofounder of Kettler Brothers Inc., of Gaithersburg, the nationally known builders and developers of residential and commercial properties such as Montgomery Village, died of cancer July 28 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Stevensville, Md.

Mr. Kettler was a director and member of the executive committee of the C & P Telephone Co. of Maryland, a director of the First American Bank, a member of the board of trustees of American University and a member of the advisory committee of the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University Hospital. He was a trustee of Concord-St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Bethesda.

Mr. Kettler was a former director and past president of the Metropolitan Washington Builders Association, the Suburban Maryland Home Builders Association, the Maryland Institute of Home Builders and the Washington Board of Realtors. He was a life director of the National Association of Home Builders.

He had served on the Montgomery County Economic Development Commission, the Maryland State Comprehensive Health Planning Council and the Montgomery County Growth Policy Committee.

Mr. Kettler, a native of Washington, was a 1941 graduate of Wilson High School. He then graduated in 1945 from the University of Michigan. He served with the Navy in the North Atlantic during World War II.

After working for seven years in real estate sales, he cofounded Kettler Brothers in 1952.

He was a Mason and a member of the Burning Tree and Columbia country clubs.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara, of Stevensville; a daughter, Ellen Paseltiner of Glencoe, Ill.; two sons, Robert and Peter, both of Washington; two brothers, Charles Kettler of Arlington and Clarence Kettler of Bethesda; a sister, Mary Ellen Forlines of Bethesda, and a granddaughter.