Dean Dinwoodey, 83, the leader of a group of employes who in 1946 bought the Bureau of National Affairs from David Lawrence, its founder and publisher, and who then served as chairman of the organization until he retired in 1969, died of a stroke Feb. 7 at the Chevy Chase nursing home. He had Alzheimer's disease.

BNA has become one of the largest publishing enterprises in Washington, putting out three daily publications and about 50 weeklies on law, economics and other aspects of government. It is wholly owned by about 800 of its 1,300 employes.

Mr. Dinwoodey, who lived in Kensington, was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1922 and spent the next three years as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany.

He was for many years a leader in the Washington Stake of the church and was a founder of its public relations council. He was spokesman for the Washington Temple of the Mormon Church during its construction and the Sunday School superintendent of the church's Chevy Chase Ward.

In 1926, Mr. Dinwoodey moved to Washington to study law at George Washington University. At the same time, he went to work on the United States Daily, a Lawrence publication designed as a national newspaper of record. He covered the Supreme Court. The United States Daily folded in 1933. Lawrence then formed United States News, now U.S. News & World Report, and the Bureau of National Affairs.

Mr. Dinwoodey was named editor in chief of BNA when it was organized. In 1946, he and fellow employes purchased it from the U.S. News Publishing Corp. and in 1947 it became an independent corporation.

In addition to his work with BNA, Mr. Dinwoodey served on the Salary Stabilization Board during the Korean War. He also was a member of the Chevy Chase Town Council. He received an honorary doctorate of laws from Brigham Young University and a distinguished alumnus award from the University of Utah.

Survivors include his wife, the former Edith Austin, of Kensington; two daughters, Jean D. Linehan of Chevy Chase, and Judith D. Hines of Lovettsville, Va.; a son, David T., of Wellesley, Mass.; a brother, Clinton M., of Salt Lake City; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.