NEW YORK -- Edward Weinfeld, 86, a U.S. District Court judge who served in Manhattan for nearly four decades and was the oldest active federal district judge in the nation, died of cancer Jan. 17 at his home in New York City.

"There is general agreement on bench and bar throughout the nation that there is no better judge on any court," Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court said of Judge Weinfeld a few years ago.

Judge Weinfeld maintained a full caseload until illness forced him to step aside in late November.

He said a few years ago that he approached his work "with the same enthusiasm that was mine the very first day of my judicial career. What one enjoys is not work. It is joy."

Judge Weinfeld was born in Manhattan and received his law degree from New York University. He was named New York state's first housing commissioner in 1939. President Truman appointed him to the federal bench in 1950.

Although his legal career was based entirely in New York, Judge Weinfeld's reputation for fairness and dedication to his work was recognized in legal circles throughout the country. He once told a group of students at NYU law school that he based his career on the principle that "every case is important . . . no case is more important than any other."

Among Judge Weinfeld's more prominent cases were his ruling that Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy's subcommittee lacked authority to investigate author Corliss Lamont, his blocking of the proposed merger of Bethlehem and Youngstown steel companies and his conduct of the Quentin Reynolds-Westbrook Pegler libel trial.

Mayor Edward I. Koch recently selected him for the city's highest award, the La Guardia Medal, which he was to receive in March.

He is survived by his wife Lillian, two daughters, one sister, one brother, and five grandchildren.

JULIAN J. (BUD) EBERLE,

72, the production director of The Washington Post from 1965 until about 1972, died Jan. 8 at a hospital in Venice, Fla., after a heart attack.

Mr. Eberle, who lived in Venice, was born in Freeport, Ill. He graduated from Marquette University with a degree in engineering and made his career in newspaper production. He worked first for The Milwaukee Journal. He was production manager of Cox Newspapers before moving to the Washington area in 1965 and joining The Post.

In 1973, he moved to Wilmington, Del., as director of production of the News Journal Co. He retired to Florida in 1979.

Survivors include his wife, Agnes Eberle of Venice; four children, Thomas J. Eberle of Westchester, Pa., Terry R. Eberle of Marion, Ind., Timothy P. Eberle of Charleston, W.Va., and Kathleen Brady of Marietta, Ga.; one sister, Vivian Barbour of Oshkosh, Wis.; four brothers, Gene Eberle of Milwaukee, Harry Eberle of Oconomowoc, Wis., Don Eberle of Denver, and James Eberle of Los Angeles, and eight grandchildren.

MAURICE G. (CHUCK) BOEHL,

60, an analyst with the Energy Department's Office of Fuels Programs, died of cancer Jan. 13 at George Washington University Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Boehl was born in Cuero, Tex. He graduated from Texas A&M University and received a master's degree in political science from George Washington University. He served in the Army in the late 1940s.

He moved to the Washington area about 1950 and became a political correspondent with the Tufty News Service. From 1957 to 1967, he was director of government relations for the National Industrial Council.

In 1967 Mr. Boehl joined an agency that later became the Department of Energy. From 1973 to 1981, he was deputy and acting director of the old Office of Petroleum Price Regulation. Since 1981 he had been an analyst with the Office of Fuels Programs.

He was a member of the National Press Club and the American Legion.

Survivors include one sister, Gwendolyn North of Cuero.

LAURA BRAINARD BOWIE,

72, a longtime resident of the Washington area and a retired secretary with the Paul Summers real estate firm in Upper Marlboro, died of cancer Jan. 17 at the Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park.

Mrs. Bowie resided at "Fairview," the family property in Bowie. She was born in New York City. She attended Oberlin College and graduated from Connecticut College for Women. She moved to the Washington area in 1944.

In 1961 and 1962, she was administrative assistant to the principal of the National Cathedral School for Girls. From 1962 to 1970 she worked for various lawyers in Upper Marlboro and she worked for the Summers firm from 1970 until she retired in 1977.

Survivors include her husband, Oden Bowie, who is secretary of the Maryland State Senate, of Bowie; two daughters, Ambler Bowie Slabe of Vestal, N.Y., and Maude Bowie Hays of Severna Park, Md.; two sisters, Esther Brainard Locke of Glastonbury, Conn., and Mary McNab Brainard of Hamden, Conn., and two grandsons.

WILLIAM H. CROUCH,

77, a retired deputy general counsel of the Library of Congress and chief of its American-British law division, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 16 at Suburban Hospital.

Mr. Crouch, a resident of Bethesda, was born in Washington. He graduated from Central High School and attended Duke University. He graduated from George Washington University and also received his law degree from GWU.

He began his career at the Library of Congress in 1928 and retired in 1977. He was an expert on American and British law.

Mr. Crouch was a member of the American Bar Association, the American Association of Law Librarians and the Law Librarian Society of Washington. He also was a member of the Calvary Baptist Church in Washington.

He was a golfer who had two holes in one to his credit. He played at the Falls Road Golf Course in Potomac.

Survivors include his wife, Helen R. Crouch of Bethesda; two children, Richard H. Crouch of Washington and Beverly C. Selwood of Bethesda; one sister, Ruth C. Belote of Memphis, and three grandchildren.

STEWARD R. CARTER JR.,

72, a retired Washington lawyer, died of pneumonia Jan. 17 at Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore.

Mr. Carter was born in Washington and graduated from Eastern High School. As a young man he worked at Washington Gas Light Co. while attending night classes at what is now Catholic University law school.

After receiving his law degree, Mr. Carter opened an independent legal practice in Washington, and he practiced here until he retired around 1978.

He also participated in a variety of business ventures.

He wrote a novel and he trained show horses.

A former resident of Gaithersburg, Mr. Carter had been in a nursing home in Baltimore since the late 1970s.

His marriage to Hazel Carter ended in divorce.

Survivors include one son, Steward R. Carter III of Silver Spring, and five grandchildren.

CARRIE MAE CALLAHAN,

92, a retired cashier at the Washington Navy Yard cafeteria, died of cancer Jan. 18 at her home in Largo, Fla.

Mrs. Callahan was born in Washington County, Va. She moved to this area in the 1930s.

She worked at the Washington Navy Yard cafeteria 44 years before she retired in 1976.

In 1979, she moved from Washington to Florida.

Her husband, Victor Hugo Callahan, died in 1944.

Survivors include two sons, Victor H. Callahan of Palm Harbor, Fla., and John W. Callahan of Waldorf; two daughters, Dorothy Callahan and Helen E. Dean, both of Largo; 13 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. More Obituaries, D5