William Hollingsworth Rawley, 77, a founder and president of the Rock Creek Ginger Ale Co., Inc., died Tuesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital after long illness.

Born in Mount Airy, N.C., he first came to Washington with his family in the early 1900s. He served with the Army in the World War II.

In 1920, Mr. Rawley and his three brothers, Lindsey, now of Phoenix, Ariz., and the late Glen and David Rawley; founded the bottling and distributing firm.

They started with two trucks delivering home-made soft drinks. Today the firm and its distributors operate a fleet of about 65 trucks. In addition to soft drinks, the company also produces quinine water and bitter lemon.

The producers are sold under the trade names of Rock Creek Ginger Ale and Blair House.

Mr. Rawley was a member of the executive board of the National Soft Drink Association. He also had served on the executive board of the American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages and for 26 years was president of the Carbonated Beverage Manufactureus Association of D.C.

He was a past president of the Grocery Manufacturers Representatives Association and the National Capital Optimist Club.

A founder of the Chatterbox Club, a businessman's organization, Mr. Rawley belonged to Grocery Wheels, the Elks, the Congressional Country Club and Metropolitian Memorial United Methodist Church. He had been a member of the Washington Board of Trade.

He is survived by his wife, Sadie B., of the home in Washington; a daughter, Jean R. Gosnell, of Bethesda, and seven grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University Hospital.