Ernest L. Cuneo, 82, a former Washington lawyer, Democratic Party official, writer and wartime intelligence officer who was the owner and president of the North American Newspaper Alliance from the mid-1950s to 1963, died March 2 at the National Hospital for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation after a heart attack he suffered at his home in Arlington.

From 1963 to 1980, Mr. Cuneo was a syndicated columnist and military analyst with the NANA.

He practiced law here and in New York for more than 50 years before retiring in 1981. At that time, he was counsel to the Washington firm of Corcoran, Youngman & Rowe. He had been an associate counsel to the Democratic National Committee about 1940. He served with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of the CIA, during World War II.

Mr. Cuneo was born in East Rutherford, N.J. He received bachelor's and law degrees from Columbia University and played for a short time in the National Football League. He moved to the Washington area in 1932. In the early 1930s, he was a legal assistant to Fiorello LaGuardia, who then was a Republican congressman and later was mayor of New York City.

Later, Mr. Cuneo established a private law practice. In the 1950s, he acquired NANA and headed it until 1963, when he sold it.

Mr. Cuneo's wartime intelligence contacts included Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond.

Mr. Cuneo was a director of Freedom House and the Woodrow Wilson Institute for International Scholars.

He was the author of several history books and of a biography of LaGuardia, "Life With Fiorello." He was a member of the University, Overseas and National Press clubs.

His wife, the former Margaret Watson, died in 1976. Survivors include one son, Jonathan Watson Cuneo of Arlington; one daughter, Sandra C. de Pury of New York City, and one grandchild.


Founder of Church Preschool

Jean Elizabeth Gordon, 61, a member of St. Stephen's United Methodist Church in Burke and a founder of its preschool, died of cancer Feb. 27 at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She lived in Springfield.

Mrs. Gordon was born in Springfield, Mass. She accompanied her husband, Mark Harold Gordon, an Army officer who retired as a colonel, on assignments in this country and in West Germany. The Gordons moved to the Washington area in 1959.

She was a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants.

In addition to her husband, of Springfield, survivors include three sons, Craig Russell Gordon of Centreville, Keith Cameron Gordon of Darnestown and Barry Lee Gordon of Woburn, Mass.; one daughter, Lauren Elizabeth Gordon of Jacksonville, N.C., and two sisters, one brother and four grandchildren.