Earl Kendall Van Swearingen, 77, a retired Navy captain who served aboard destroyers and transports in the Pacific theater during World War II, died of cancer Oct. 24 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. Since 1947, he had lived in Alexandria, where he was active in civic groups.

Capt. Van Swearingen was a native of Kansas City, Mo., and a 1927 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He earned a master's degree in education at George Washington University in 1958.

He was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese struck on Dec. 7, 1941. He later commanded destroyers in the Central Pacific. He was skipper of a transport at the war's end.

From 1953 to 1954, Capt. Van Swearingen commanded the cruiser Newport News. He was stationed at the Bureau of Ordnance when he retired in 1957.

Capt. Van Swearingen was a past president of the Alexandria Association and was the first chairman of the Alexandria Historic Restoration and Preservation Commission. He was a founder of the Old Town Civic Association and the Historic Alexandria Foundation. He also was a member of the Little Theatre of Alexandria.

His first wife, the former Eleanore Maria Chamberlain, died in 1966.

Survivors include his wife, the former Lonore Kent Kiefer of Alexandria, and a stepdaughter, Lauren Scott of New York City.