John P. Tracey, 52, director of legislative affairs for the Northern Telecom company and a former chief lobbyist for the American Bar Association in Washington, died of cancer Dec. 31 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

As chief lobbyist for the ABA from 1967 to 1975, Mr. Tracey was a principal spokesman in support of establishing the Legal Services Program. This was the legal aide program of the old Office of Equal Opportunity, the antipoverty agency, and it is now Legal Services Corp.

In 1975 Mr. Tracey went to work for the U.S. Telephone Association, an industry organization. He joined Northern Telecom two years ago.

Mr. Tracey, a Bethesda resident, was born in Norwalk, Conn., and graduated from the University of Vermont. He moved to Washington in the late 1950s as a law student at Georgetown University, where he received his law degree in 1960.

He was an attorney in the Washington law firm of Hedrick & Lane before he went to work for the ABA.

Mr. Tracey was a member of the Kenwood Golf & Country Club and the parish of the Catholic Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda.

Survivors include his wife, Susan Tracey, and two sons, John Edward and Evan Lane Tracey, all of Bethesda, and his mother, Clara Tracey, four brothers, Edward, James, Michael and William Tracey, and three sisters, Katherine Ann Harrell, Mary Shanahan and Sheila Corridon, all of Norwalk.