Culbert Laney, a retired Department of Defense civilian employee, died of cancer Friday at his Silver Spring home. He was 63.

In 1951 Mr. Laney was chosen as The Washington Post's Ideal Father of the year, on the basis of letters enteed by his children in a then annual contest.

On Feb. 2, 16 days before Mr. Laney died, his daughter Victoria, a student at Brigham Young University, wrote another letter to the Post:

"My father, Culbert Laney, was named Washington Post Ideal Father for 1951, the year I was born.

He has continued to be an ideal father, and now our family is saddened because he has been stricken with cancer. The doctor expects him to die this month. Because I am sure you will want to runa story on his life, I am writing to give you some information on events that happened in the past 25 years.

"At the time of his award, he was 38, with four children," wrote Miss Laney. "I was born a month later. In 1954, Dad transfered to the Navy Progress Analysis Group as a Military Manpower Analyst, and later as an aircraft analyst.

"My brother Clifton was born May 13, 1954. During this period Dad served as a regional leader in the Boy Scout Organization. He also served several years as president of the Sligo-Branview Citizen's Association. He chaired the citizen's advisory committee on driver education in Montgomery County High Schools, and was instrumental in the establishment of off-street driver training ranges. My brother Richmond was born in 1957."

Mr. Laney was a native of St. George, Utah, and graduated from Utah State Agricultural College, where he earned his way through college working as a campus watchman, construction worker, been picker and a grader of mathematics and German appers.

A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mr. Laney was long active in Mormon affairs, serving from 1965 to 1975 a member of the governing body of the Washington area church. He served until last month as a supervisor of the Washington Temple.

"Dad always believed that no professional success could compensate for failure in the home," Miss Laney wrote to the Post prior to Mr. Laney's death. "I think he has done a great job of working with Mom to raise us." She then listed her brothers and sisters and their educational and occupational accomplishments.

"I'm afraid these facts don't tell the entire story," Victoria Laney concluded. "Dad is remarkable. He knows he is dying, but he is peaceful and unafraid. He talks about enjoyable times we have shared and helps mother plan for the future. If you want more information, (although this is probably too much already), feel free to call him.

Mr. Laney is also survived by his wife Edna, of the home, four sons, Melvin, of SPENCERVILLE, Md., Orin, of Fullerton, Calif., clifton, of Halifax, N.S., Canada, and Richmond, of Paris; two daughters, Roberta Clayton, of Austin, Tex. and Margaret Leigh, of Northumberland, Penna, a sister, Elizabeth Cox, and a brother, George, both of St. George, Utah and 14 grandchildren.