Mary Jane Kugel, 61, long active in health and social work, died Thursday at her home in Bethesda after a long illness.

A resident of the Washington area for the last 15 years, Mrs. Kugel had been a social worker and program organizer for the Prince William County Welfare Department, the Homemaker Health Aide Service of the National Capital Area, the Baltimore Department of Public Health and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Mrs. Kugel also did research for the Baltimore Health Department, the Groome Child Guidance Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital and the Washington Mental Health Association.

She was a founder and former member of the board of directors of its Washington chapter.

Born in Tucumcari, N.M., Mrs. Kugel grew up in Lakeland, Fla., and graduated from Rollins College with a degree in music. A cellist, she performed with several symphonic and choral groups.

Later she took graduate studies in social work at the universities of Michigan, Arizona and California and Catholic University and earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland.

Mrs. Kugel had been active in the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, serving as a precinct chief.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas, and three sons, Timothy, Keith and Thomas, of the home; two daughters, Sue Michaels, of Melrose, Mass., and Nancy Clark, of Vienna; a brother, C.A.Meeker, of Albuquerque, and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, the Groome Child Guidance Service or the American Cancer Society.