Charles Joseph Habig, 73, a former pipe fitter who rose to the upper echelons of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters before retiring in 1991 as its secretary treasurer, died of cancer Dec. 8 at his home in Gaithersburg.

Mr. Habig had been a pipe fitter and then business manager for United Association's Local 83 in his native Wheeling, W.Va. He was appointed to the trade union's general offices in Washington as a special representative in 1970.

He worked in various capacities before spending six years as secretary treasurer of the United Association, which represents about 290,000 members in the United States and Canada.

He began working as a pipe fitter after serving as a quartermaster aboard a liberty ship during World War II. He was recalled to active military duty during the Korean War and was stationed on the Bon Homme Richard aircraft carrier.

An outdoorsman, he enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He was a member of the American Legion, Elks Club and Izaak Walton League.

Survivors include his wife, Geraldine Habig of Gaithersburg; four stepchildren, Melody Champney of Fox Lake, Ill., Edward Echard of Germantown, Scott Echard of Hollywood and Michelle Echard of Jupiter, Fla.; and six grandchildren.