John P. Murchison, 82, a Washington real estate broker from the 1940s until his retirement in the early 1980s, who also had taught at Howard University and worked for the Interior and Agriculture departments, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 13 at Providence Hospital.

Mr. Murchison moved to this area in the early 1930s and worked for the federal government during the rest of the decade. First, he was an economics adviser to secretary of the interior Harold Ickes, specializing in the fields of black housing, economic recovery, and development. He then transferred to the Agriculture Department, becoming director of subsistence homesteading.

In addition to his brokerage business, Mr. Murchison was a professor of real estate and housing at Howard University, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1963, he helped found and became president of the old Citizens Small Business Investment Corp. in Washington.

He was a member of St. Stephen & The Incarnation Episcopal Church in Washington.

Mr. Murchison, who lived in Washington, was a native of Houston and a graduate of Howard University, and earned a master's degree in economics at Columbia University. Before joining the government, he worked for a time on Wall Street, edited a paper in Flint, Mich., and taught economics at universities in the South and Midwest. He also taught economics at Howard before joining Interior.

Survivors include his wife, Nollie, and two sons, John P. Jr., and George B., all of Washington; a brother, Oliver, of San Diego, and 10 grandchildren.