Willard A. Edwards, 88, a retired newspaperman in the Washington bureau of the Chicago Tribune who covered the White House, national politics and the U.S. Senate, died of lung ailments Dec. 22 at the Heritage Healthcare Center in Takoma Park.

Mr. Edwards, a longtime resident of the Capitol Hill section of Washington, was born in Chicago. He began his newspaper career with the City News Bureau in Chicago in 1920. Two years later, he joined the Chicago Tribune.

He was assigned to Washington in 1935 after having spent a year in New York covering the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who was found guilty of kidnaping the infant son of Charles A. Lindbergh, the aviation hero.

In Washington, Mr. Edwards began by covering the White House and President Franklin D. Roosevelt, but he spent most of his years here covering the Senate. He also covered all the national political campaigns and all the national political conventions from 1940 through 1972, when he retired.

A golfer, Mr. Edwards was a member of the Manor Country Club and the Indian Spring Country Club. He was a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Washington.

His wife, Leila M. Edwards, died in 1985.

Survivors include one son, Lee Edwards of Bethesda, two brothers, Paul Edwards of Laguna Hills, Calif., and Francis Edwards of San Diego, and two grandchildren.