Philip H. Love, 71, retired feature editor of The Washington Star and an Internationally syndicated columnist, died of cancer yesterday at his home in Washington.

He had retired from The Star in the early part of 1971 after 40 years there as a reporter, editor and columnist.

A prolific writer, he had continued to produce his weekly column, "Love on Life," up until his death. He had completed a column on Tuesday.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Love attended Calvert Hall College. He was a cartoonist-writer for The Baltimore Times and several magazines before joining The Baltimore Post in 1929, where he worked for two years.

He then started work at The Star as a reporter. He was an assistant city editor in 1935-38, associate Sunday editor until 1945 and Saturday magazine editor until 1963, when he became feature editor.

Mr. Love established "Love on Life, a humor/human-interest column, which first was syndicated by North American Newspaper Alliance and Bell-McClure Syndicate from 1963 until 1971.

The column then was taken over by McNaught Syndicate until 1974, when it was published by Love Syndicate, of which he was editor. The column appears in about newspapers in this country and in several foreign countries.

Mr. Love had been a lecturer on journalism at George Washington University from 1942 to 1952.

He was the author of a book," Andrew W. Mellon - The Man and His Work," published in 1929. His monthly column on comics and their creators was published as a collection in paperback book form under the title, "Phil Love Talks of the Comics," in 1964.

At the time of his death, Mr. Love had just completed an article on his long bout with cancer, which was written in the first person. He also had written a book on his career at The Star and had partially completed a book on the Holy Land.

Mr. Love was a member of the White House Correspondents Association, the National Press Club, the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors and Sigma Delta Chi, professional journalism society.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Purcell Love, of the home; a daughter, Ann Love Green of Chevy Chase, and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Sigma Delta Chi to help establish a scholarship.