I. Lee Potter, 73, the chairman of the Virginia Republican State Central Committee from 1956 to 1962 and a Republican National Committeeman from 1964 to 1972, died of a ruptured aorta Feb. 21 at Arlington Hospital. He lived in Arlington.

Mr. Potter was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Northern Virginia. He earned a degree in accounting and business administration at Southeastern University. He was a professional organ player and union printer before becoming active in construction and real estate development in 1935.

At his death, he was president and board chairman of Jelleff's, a women's specialty store in Arlington. He had been a director of several Northern Virginia banks.

In politics, Mr. Potter was elected chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee in 1950. From 1954 to 1955, he was administrative assistant to Secretary of Labor James Mitchell. In January 1957, he was named special assistant to GOP National Committee Chairman Meade Alcorn and director of the committee's southern division.

He became executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 1967, and three years later was named executive director of Republican Congressional Boosters Club, the fund-raising arm of the Republican Senatorial and Congressional Campaign committees. He held that post until 1982.

He was a member of the board of the Wolf Trap Regional Foundation and of the Virginia Fish and Game Commission. He was chairman of the American Cancer Society of Northern Virginia.

Survivors include his wife, Dulcie H., of Arlington; a son, Alan, of Locust Grove, Va.; his father, H. Stewart Potter, and two sisters, Rae Vaughn and Jean Toombs, all of Arlington, and three grandchildren.