Delores Poyner Hendricks, 46, a public elementary school teacher in Washington from 1963 to 1972 and a personnel management specialist with the National Institutes of Health from 1972 until she retired in 1979, died of cancer Saturday at Howard University Hospital.

During her nine years with the D.C. public school system, Mrs. Hendricks taught at the Benning, Langdon, and Murch schools. Before that, she had been a secretary with the Navy Department and a social worker with the D.C. government.

Mrs. Hendricks, who was born in Washington, graduated from Dunbar High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology at Howard University in 1958 and a master's degree in counseling and guidance at the old Federal City College in 1970.

A resident of Washington, Mrs. Hendricks was a member of the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ and of its Historical and Cultural Arts and Pulpit committees.

Survivors include her husband, David C. Hendricks of Washington; her parents, Watson J. and Martha R. Poyner of Washington; two brothers, William J. Poyner of Washington, and Phillip L. Poyner of Tel Aviv, Israel, and three sisters, Carol P. Dargan of Columbia, S.C., and Barbara P. Beam and Patricia M. Poyner, both of Washington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions in Mrs. Hendricks' name to the Howard University Cancer Research Center, Washington.