Herbert Adolph Friede, former chief electrical engineer for Washington, died Monday at the Veterans Facility in Ford Howard, Md. after a long illness. He was 78.

Born in Wheeling, W.Va., Mr. Friede served in the Army during World War I. He returned to Wheeling where he served as head of the city's electrical department before joining the D.C. government in 1933.

Starting as an assistant electrical engineer, he was made chief in 1952. After his retirement in 1964, Mr. Friede continued as a consultant to the city for several years.

After he retired, Mr. Friede continued his involvement with the Masonic Fraternity. A member of the Nelson Lodge No. 30 in Wheeling, he joined the Scottish Rite and Almas Temple here in 1944. He served as illustrious potentate in 1957, and was recorder for many years. He was also a member of the Royal Order of Jesters, an adjunct of the Masons, of which he was impresario for 20 years.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, of the Washington home; and two daughters, Janet F. Whiting, of Crofton, Md., and Kathryn F. Shaffer, of Charlestown, W.Va.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy be made in the form of donations to the Philadelphia Unit, Shriners Hospitals for Crippled Children, c/o Almas Temple, 1315 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20005.