Matthew F. McGuire, 87, a retired chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Washington, died of pneumonia Jan. 24 at Georgetown University Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Judge McGuire was born in Boston. He graduated from Holy Cross College and earned a law degree from Boston University. He later received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Holy Cross. During World War I, he served in the Navy. He began his private law practice in Boston in 1926.

In 1932, he was the manager of the successful election campaign of Rep. Arthur D. Healey (D-Mass.) Judge McGuire moved to the Washington area in 1934 and went to work at the Justice Department. In 1936, he became an assistant to Attorney General Joseph B. Keenan.

Judge McGuire was appointed in 1941 to the District Court bench. He became chief judge in 1961 and retired in 1966. He held senior judge status with the court until his death.

In 1945, the secretary of the Navy named Judge McGuire chairman of the committee that organized the Navy's judge advocate general corps. For his work, Judge McGuire received the Navy's highest civilian decoration, the Distinguished Public Service Award.

He was a member of the American Bar Association. He was a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the John Carroll Society, of which he was the founding president, and St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Eleanor, of Washington and a sister, Kathleen Connors of Belmont, Mass.