Ernest B. Nowell, 67, a retired lawyer with the claims division of the of the old Post Office Department and an area resident since 1936, died Dec. 23 on a golf course in Sanibel Island, Fla., after a heart attack.

A resident of College Park, he was vacationing in Florida when he was stricken.

Mr. Nowell began his government career in 1936 as a messenger with the Treasury Department. He also worked for the General Accounting Office before joining the Post Office Department in the late 1930s.

He transferred to the Defense Department in 1953 and worked for its board for the correction of military records before returning to the Post Office in the early 1960s. He was an attorney there until retiring in 1970.

Mr. Nowell was a native of Lewis, Okla., and a 1941 graduate of the George Washington University law school. He served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II.

He was a member of the D.C. Bar. He also was a member of American Legion Post No. 217 and attended St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, both in College Park.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, the former Barbara Lee, of College Park; two daughters, Roxy Ann Ogden of Dunkirk, Md., and Linda Lee Nowell of Annapolis, and two grandchildren.