Wolf Von Eckardt, 77, a former art and architecture critic for The Washington Post and an influential observer of the life and buildings of urban America, died Aug. 27 at his home in Jaffrey, N.H. He died of complications after a stroke.

Known for his passion for architecture and its contribution to the working of cities, Mr. Von Eckardt was a man of firm principles and strong opinions who harbored an intense love for Washington, where he worked for many years.

Mr. Von Eckardt, who fled Hitler's Germany as a teenager and never graduated from college, followed a career path of kaleidoscopic variation, marked by numerous shifts and changes that were driven by his intellect and passions. He served in U.S. Army Intelligence during World War II, was an adviser to the postwar West German government, worked as a graphic artist and book designer, and was a publicist and information officer.

Later, after 18 years at The Post, Mr. Von Eckardt wrote for Time magazine and other publications, taught at universities and published several books.

He was "an exceptional person in terms of his ability to critique the form and shape of architecture," and through his writing, "he made a great contribution in defining it," said George Notter, a former president of the American Institute of Architects.

"He felt very strongly that architecture was . . . a social art," said his wife, the former Nina ffrench-frazier. "His criterion was to help {find} the best way for people to live.

"He wanted things to be utilitarian and very beautiful at the same time," she said.

While adhering to strong principles about architecture, Mr. Von Eckardt wrote with "a certain amount of heart," she added, and managed to formulate his criticism in a "humane, nonconfrontational way."

In that manner, he apparently succeeded in giving a poor review to The Post's building on 15th Street NW without alienating too many of his colleagues.

Mr. Von Eckardt was born in Berlin on March 6, 1918. His mother was Jewish; his father was not, although he became one of the first university professors to be fired by the Nazis. Mr. Von Eckardt's parents were divorced when he was a boy.

As a teenager, Mr. Von Eckardt was expelled from school in Germany because of his ethnic background. In 1936, he and a younger sister fled Germany with their mother.

Before leaving Germany, he had worked as a printer's apprentice. After arriving in New York, he found work doing the same thing. He also took classes at the New School for Social Research.

Before World War II, he had worked as a freelance commercial designer and designed book covers for the Alfred E. Knopf publishing house. After his wartime Army service and postwar consulting for the West German government, he worked for the U.S. government in Germany to help set up a free, de-Nazified press there.

On returning to this country, he worked for the U.S. Information Agency and then the American Federation of Labor. His family recalled that his career there ended abruptly when he found the recorded music piped into the elevators intolerable and quit.

After working in information and publicity for the American Institute of Architects, he applied to The Post, which then had no architecture critic.

He was hired in 1963 and assigned to write art criticism as well, which he did while successfully concealing that he was colorblind, his wife said.

After leaving The Post in 1981, he joined the staff of Time. He left Time after the term brownstones was inserted into one of his pieces as a substitute for the town houses he was writing about, according to his wife.

Mr. Von Eckardt continued to teach and write until he suffered his first stroke in 1989. His books included "The Challenge of Megalopolis," "A Place to Live -- The Crisis of the Cities," "Bertolt Brecht's Berlin" and "Back to the Drawing Board! Planning Livable Cities."

He loved America, "he loved architecture, and he loved the life of cities," his wife said.

His first marriage, to Marianne Horney, ended in divorce.

In addition to his wife, Nina, whom he married in 1987 and who lives in Jaffrey, survivors include two daughters from his first marriage, Marina Gilman of Chicago and Barbara Von Eckardt of Lincoln, Neb.; and two stepchildren, Merin and Graham Frazier, both of New York. ANN P. O'HARA Eucharistic Minister

Ann P. O'Hara, 75, one of the first eucharistic ministers to serve at St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church, died of cancer Aug. 24 at Arlington Hospital. She had lived in Falls Church since 1950.

Mrs. O'Hara was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She did clerical work in New York before her marriage in the early 1940s to Hugh B. O'Hara and then accompanied him to assignments with the Rural Electrification Administration in the South and Midwest. They lived in Washington briefly in the mid-1940s.

She was a member of parish advisory board at St. James, where she was a eucharistic minister in the 1970s, as well as the Women of St. James, Widows and Widowers of St. James and a ministry that visited the sick.

She was an organizer and president of a chapter in Northern Virginia of the Take Off Pounds Sensibly organization and an organizer of the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, where she won a bronze medal in speed walking in 1989.

Her husband died in 1986.

Survivors include eight children, Hugh B. O'Hara, the Rev. John T. O'Hara, James T. O'Hara, Joanne O'Hara and Charles J. O'Hara, all of Falls Church, Michael O'Hara of Colchester, Vt., Mary Jane Fulcher of Bolling Green, Ohio, and Patrick J. O'Hara of Baton Rouge, La.; and 19 grandchildren. WARREN WILBUR ARMSTRONG Aircraft Pilot

Warren Wilbur Armstrong, 71, a charter aircraft pilot who had worked out of the Washington area from the early 1950s to the early 1970s, died in an airplane crash in Dawson County, Ga. According to the Dawson County sheriff's office, Mr. Armstrong was the pilot of a small aircraft that crashed into the side of Sassafras Mountain on Aug. 8. The crash site was located and his identity established Aug. 19.

He had been flying from College Park to New Orleans when the plane crashed. His last stop had been Roanoke, Va.

During his years in the Washington area, Mr. Armstrong was the pilot on charter flights for government agencies, including explosives cargoes for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory. He also was an independent art dealer.

For the past 25 years, Mr. Armstrong had lived in Tucson.

He was born in Sharon, Mass. During World War II, he served in the Merchant Marine aboard oil tankers.

Survivors include his wife, Donna Malecki of Tucson; two children, Wayne Phillip Armstrong-Moore of Apache Junction, Ariz., and Dale Louise Raney of Piney Point; and a brother, Dr. Carroll Armstrong of Carlsbad, Calif.