Nelson A. Potter, 74, editor of Potter's Supreme Court News Services, died Wednesday at the Bethesda-Silver Spring Retirement and Nursing Home, which he had entered two weeks ago.

He founded the news services about 1939. He had been a resident of Chevy Chase for more than 40 years.

Born in Denver, Mr. Potter grew up in Nebraska and later lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He attended the University of Florida and after coming here in the mid-1920s, graduated from George Washington University Law School.

He worked for 15 years at the U.S. Supreme Court, first as an assistant clerk in the office of the clerk of the court and later as director of press relations.

Mr. Potter was a member of the D.C. and Florida bars and was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.

He is survived by his wife, Virginia, of Wellsville, N.Y.; two sons, Nelson A. Potter II, of Tracy, Calif., and Joel L. Potter, of Gahanna, Ohio, and two sisters, Harriet J. Conger, of Loup City, Neb., and Fans G. Potter, of Miami, Fla.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.