Clifton Stell Jr., 51, a retired manpower development specialist with the District of Columbia government, died of cancer Monday at his home in Washington.

He had retired last December because of ill health after serving in the department of manpower for about four years. Before that, he had bten a community leader with the District government's ACT program in Southeast Washington for about four years.

Born in Cuero, Tex., Mr. Stell attended Prairie View College. He served in World War II with the U.S. Army in Europe.

He came here after the war and started at the Washington Navy Yard in 1947. Later, he worked with the Post Office Department before joining the District government.

While working, Mr. Stell attended Howard University. He later earned bachelor's and master's degrees in adult education from Federal City College.

He had been active in the National Alliance of Postal and Federal Employees and the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 12.

Mr. Stell was a member of Bereat Baptist Church, where he sang in the choirs. He was a Master Mason of Felix Lodge No. 3, Prince Hall Affiliate.

He is survived by his wife, Josephine, and two sons, Clifton III and Gary, all of the home; a daughter, Cleo Cherry, of Rock Hill, S.C.; his father and stepmother, Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Stell Sr., of Corpus Christi, Tex.; his grandmother, Aletha Stell, of Houston; a stepmother, Leora Flores, of Hayward, Calif., and a grandchild.