Dr. Ward Stewart, 70, a retired official of the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare, who had lived here since 1941, died of cardiac arrest July 23 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Dr. Stewart began his government career in 1941 with the Treasury Department. Later in the 1940s, he worked for the National Housing Agency and the Atomic Energy Commission. From 1947 to 1951, he was deputy chief of the Public Administration Mission to Colombia in Bogota. He then spent a year with Economic Stabilization Agency here.

He joined the old U.S. Office of Education in 1952. Later that year, he became assistant commissioner for program development and coordination. In 1957, he was appointed staff specialist on college and university programs in business and public administration in the Education Office. Later offices included that of director of higher education field services before his retirement from HEW in 1973.

Dr. Stewart was a native of Des Moines, Iowa, and a magna cum laude graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota. He earned a master's degree in education at the University of Chicago, and a doctorate in political science at Harvard University. He was a 1949 graduate of the George Washington University law school.

He had been president of the District chapter of the American Political Science Association, and a member of the American Society for Public Administration and Phi Beta Kappa. He was a member of the Edgemoor County Club in Bethesda.

Survivors include his wife, Antoinette, of Washington; two sons, Philip Bradford Stewart of Bethesda, and Richard Crandell Stewart of Washington; a daughter, Elizabeth Santelli of Maple Grove, Minn.; two sisters, Gladys Nicholson of Des Moines, and Lillian Anderson of Guerneville, Calif., and two grandchildren.