John Albert Dean, 55, a Washington attorney and a former comptroller with the National Automobile Dealers Association, died of cancer Sept. 3 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.

Mr. Dean was born in Meadville, Pa. He graduated from Youngstown State University. He received a master's degree in business administration and a law degree from American University. He served in the Army in West Germany from 1945 to 1953 and earned the rank of captain. He retired from the Reserves as a major in 1965. Since 1981, he had served in the Maryland National Guard.

He moved to Washington in 1961 and worked for the Marriott Corp., where he became director of distribution. In 1967, he joined NADA. He had been in a general law practice since 1974.

He was a member of the Men's Republican Club of Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Committee on Redistricting, and the Masons. In 1980, he was named a "Distinguished President" by the Silver Spring Kiwanis Club, of which he was was a member.

His marriage to Betty Dean Ogilvie ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife Lilly Holtze Dean of Silver Spring; three daughters by his first marriage, Janyce Dean and Dr. Jocelyn McGinnis, both of Rockville, and Jennifer Ogilvie of Potomac; three stepchildren, Christer Holtze of Philadelphia, Beatriz Schumann of West Germany, and Anita Talbott of Thailand; his mother Giva Dean, and a brother, Rodney, both of Clearwater, Fla., and six grandchildren.