Clinton Price, 71, an official of the D.C. Recreation Department for more than 40 years, died of a heart ailment Monday at George Washington University Hospital.

At his retirement in 1972, he was director of the citywide division.

Born in Washington, Mr. Price was a graduate of Emerson Institute. He started with the recreation department and served later as regional manager, pools manager and program organizer before heading the citywide division.

Mr. price was credited with organizing the first marble tournament, the first aquacade and the first World Craft Fair here. He taught courses in recreation at George Washington University.

He was a member of the board of directors of the Washington Civic opera Association and was active in the Shakespeare Summer Festival , the Watergate Association, the Outdoor Art Fair, the Public Parks Tennis Tournament, the Commissioners' Invitational Tennis Tournament, the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Christmas Pageant of Peace, the Fourth of July Celebration Committee, the Federal Golf Association and the Commissioners' Sister City Program.

A wekk known athlete, Mr. Price had player with the Northern Celtics semiprofessional football team, a forerunner of the Washington Redskins, and was a former member of the Potomac Polo Club.

At one time he had owned two riding stables where private instructions were given. His clients included such notables as radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, and a daughter, Dana, both of the home in Washington, and a brother, George, of Arlington.