Ila Hays McCandlish, 77, a lifelong resident of this area and an active church and civic worker, died Friday at her daughter's home in North Haven, Conn.

Mrs. McCandlish, a former Veterans Administration employee, was a member of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees, and a district president of the Washington central district of the board of child care of the Methodist Church.

She was a member of the Sibley Memorial Hospital Guild and of the Unity Class and Woodside United Methodist Church. She was chairman of the church's Commission on Ecumenical Affairs and a member of the administrative board.

She was also executive secretary of the Organized Bible Class Association of the Metropolitan area, and was a grand matron of Lebanon Chapter, No. 25, of the Order of the Eastern Star. She was also a member of the Silver Spring Women's Club and the Fortnightly Book Club.

Survivors include a daughter, Mrs. Gordon M. Clark, of North Haven; a son, Robert H. McCandlish, of Wilton, Conn.; two sisters, Mrs. Owen A. Holladay, of Silver Spring, and Mrs. James B. Sweeney, of Easton, Md; a brother, Samuel F. Hays, of Union, Miss.; eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.