William H. Calfee, 86, a nationally exhibited sculptor and painter who was the first chairman of the art department at American University, died of cancer Dec. 2 at his home in Chevy Chase.

He was a founder of the art department in 1945 and served as its chairman until 1954. After he retired as professor emeritus in 1977, he taught at the Kensington Workshop. He was a founder of Jefferson Place Gallery, one of the first galleries that exhibited works of the so-called Washington Color School of painting.

Mr. Calfee's commissioned works included a massive abstract sculpture for the grounds of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre in Rockville and murals for post offices in Bel Air, Md., Petersburg and Harrisonburg, W.Va., and Selbyville, Del. His works were exhibited at the New York World's Fair in 1939, the Baltimore Museum and at private galleries in New York. They also were included in collections of the Metropolitan Museum, Phillips Collection and Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Mr. Calfee was a native of Washington and a graduate of Central High School. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the Cranbrook Academy in Michigan, Catholic University and the Corcoran School of Art. He taught in Haiti and at the Phillips, the University of California at Berkeley, Hood College and at his own school in Washington.

In the mid-1930s, he was an instructor in the special skills division of the Resettlement Administration in Tennessee.

Mr. Calfee was president of the Artists' Guild of Washington and wrote for a magazine, Right Angle.

His marriages to Maria P. Hawkins and June Dunn Davis ended in divorce.

Survivors include his companion, Patricia Friend of Chevy Chase; two children from his first marriage, Adriana C. Sumner of Cochise, Ariz., and Richard H. Calfee of Germantown; four children from his second marriage, Helme P. Calfee of Atlanta, Alan E. Calfee of Dorset, Vt., William W. Calfee of East Dorset, Vt., and Judy C. Le Paul of Brittany, France; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. MILTON LEAVITT Cultural Affairs Officer

Milton Leavitt, 76, a cultural affairs officer who retired in 1979 as director of the U.S. Information Agency's cultural center in Bangkok after 28 years in the Foreign Service, died of cardiac arrest Nov. 29 at a hospital in Bay Harbor Island, Fla. A resident of the Washington area off and on for 30 years, he moved from Bethesda to Bay Harbor Island three years ago.

Mr. Leavitt was a graduate of Clark University in his native Worcester, Mass., and received a master's degree in communications from Boston University.

He served in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II and was held prisoner by the Japanese for more than three years in the Philippines and Japan. He participated in the Bataan Death March.

Mr. Leavitt's overseas assignments for the USIA included the Philippines, Germany, India, Colombia and Peru.

His honors included a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and the Superior Service Award of the USIA.

He was a member of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, the American Foreign Service Association and the Disabled American Veterans.

Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Rosalyn Leavitt of Bay Harbor Island; two children, Charles Leavitt of Santa Monica, Calif., and Adam Leavitt of Los Angeles; two sisters, Shirley Skinner of Upland, Calif., and Barbara Brown of Wooster; and four children. JULIUS ALBERT FLEISCHHAUER Postal Official

Julius Albert Fleischhauer, 77, a native Washingtonian and a retired postal official, died of lung cancer Dec. 3 at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg.

Mr. Fleischhauer served in the Army in Europe and North Africa during World War II. He participated in combat operations during the Allied landings on the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944.

He retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1976 after 37 years of federal service. He was assigned in Washington until 1966, when he was transferred to Edgewater, N.J., as superintendent of the mail bag depository.

In 1977, Mr. Fleischhauer moved from New Jersey to Colonial Beach, Va.

He was a boater and a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Survivors include his wife, Doris T. Fleischhauer of Colonial Beach; three children, Patricia Ann Wittmann of Salisbury, N.C., Lynette Viviani of Kinnelon, N.J., and Gary V. Fleischhauer of East Brunswick, N.J.; a sister, Billie May Young of Colonial Beach; and four grandchildren.