Harley M. Williams, 68, who retired in 1973 as an appeals examiner with the U.S. Civil Service Commission's appeals and review board and who was active in civic and church groups, died Nov. 17 at Arlington Hospital after a stroke. He lived in Fairfax.

Mr. Williams began his government career as an occupational coder with the Civil Service Commission in 1940. From 1942 to 1944, he was a labor market analyst with the War Manpower Commission.

After serving in the Army during World War II, he worked for the National Roster of Scientific and Specialized Personnel before joining the personnel division of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1948. He returned to the Civil Service Commission in 1952 and became an appeals examiner seven years later.

Mr. Williams was a founder of the Better Government League in Arlington and the Arlington Independent Movement. He was named Arlington Man of the Year in 1952 by the Arlington County Civic Federation. After moving to Fairfax in 1954, he helped found and served as president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance and was an officer in the Virginia Taxpayers Association.

He was a member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee and had served as a party precinct chairman. He had done work for the Little League, the Fairfax City Boys Club, and the Boy Scouts. He was a member of Jerusalem Baptist Church in Fairfax Station for over 25 years and had been a messenger to the Southern Baptist Convention in both 1968 and 1981.

Mr. Williams was a 1936 honors graduate of the University of Georgia, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He taught high school in his native Georgia before moving here in 1939.

Survivors include his wife of 45 years, the former Marguerite Beasley of Fairfax; four sons, Thomas N., of Rockville, Stephen G., of Lexington Park, Robert M., of Annandale, and James H., of Berkeley, Calif.; a brother, W.G. Williams of Coronado, Calif.; two sisters, Ivalyne Blair of Douglas, Ga., and Mary Evelyn Baffo of Tobyhanna, Pa., and four grandchildren.