Walter F. Frese, 81, a professor emeritus at the Harvard Business School and a former head of the Accounting Systems Division of the General Accounting Office, died of pneumonia Nov. 11 at a hospital in Cambridge, Mass. He lived in Belmont, Mass.

Mr. Frese became chief of the Accounting Systems Division in 1948 and for the next eight years headed the Joint Accounting Improvement Program, which was responsible for coordinating the fiscal systems procedures and controls of the GAO, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Treasury Department.

For the 12 years before he joined the GAO, Mr. Frese had been at the Treasury Department, where he helped establish a nationwide system to account for and disburse emergency relief funds.

In 1956, he left the GAO and joined the faculty at the Harvard Business School as a visiting professor. He was named the first Lovett-Learned professor of business administration in 1968. He became the first Arthur Lowes Dickinson professor of accounting two years later. He had been a professor emeritus since 1972.

A native of Denison, Iowa, Mr. Frese graduated from the University of Iowa. In 1930 he earned a master's degree in accounting from the University of Illinois, where he taught accounting for five years before moving to Washington.

Mr. Frese received the Comptroller General's General Accounting Office Award for Public Service in 1974 and the Harvard Business School's Distinguished Service Award in 1983.

He had served on the board of the Accounting Principles Board, the profession's leading authority on accounting practices. He was a member of the American Accounting Association and a founder and a past president of the Association of Government Accountants.

Survivors include his wife, Mildred Smith of Belmont; two daughters, Mary Ann Witt of Durham, N.C., and Martha Mills of Herndon; one son, Wayne F. Frese of Belmont, and five grandchildren.

JAMES DONALD GRIFFIN JR., 59, a former patent lawyer who became a partner with the Dickerson Boat Building Co. in Trappe, Md., died of cancer Nov. 11 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He lived in Bethesda.

Mr. Griffin was born in Hartford, Conn. He graduated from Yale University and earned a law degree from George Washington University. He served in the Army from 1949 to 1951. He moved to the Washington area in the early 1950s.

After completing law school in 1955, he was a law clerk for Judge Wilbur K. Miller of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He joined the Washington law firm of Larson & Taylor in 1957 and specialized in patent law.

During the 1960s, he bought and restored the old Robert Morris Inn in Oxford, Md. He founded Kirkland Hall College in Easton in 1968 and sold the school about two years later. He had been a partner with Dickerson Boat Building since 1979.

Mr. Griffin was a member of the Chevy Chase Club, the University Club and the Tred Avon Yacht Club in Oxford.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret Roberta Waller Griffin of Bethesda; three children, Marine Lt. James B. Griffin III of Pensacola, Fla., Margaret Tredway Labat of Oxford, and Mary Leslie Griffin of Philadelphia; a brother, William P. Griffin of Easton; a sister, Mary Jane Burroni of San Anselmo, Calif., and a grandson.

JACK D. HORTON, 81, a cartographer-engineer at the U.S. Geological Survey from 1945 until he retired in 1975, died of lung ailments Nov. 11 at Suburban Hospital.

Mr. Horton, a resident of Bethesda, was born in Bryn Mawr, Pa. He moved here in 1945 and worked for the National War College before joining the staff at the Geological Survey.

He was a member of the Bethesda Presbyterian Church.

Survivors include his wife, Dorris Horton of Bethesda.