Matthew R. Kerschbaum, 63, executive vice president of the Fred S. Gichner Iron Works Co., died of cancer Tuesday at Georgetown University Hospital.

Starting as a apprentice at the iron works in 1940, he rose through the ranks to become executive vice president and general manager in 1962, the position he held at the time of his death.

He directed the manufacture and installation of some of the area's most impressive ornamental metal work including the White House fences and metal work at the International Monetary Fund and the Japanese Embassy.

Born in Augsburg, Germany, Mr. Kerschbaum came to this country at the age of 9. He graduated from Eastern High School here in 1933, and started at the iron works under the supervision of his father, a master mechanic there.

During World War II he served with the Navy and saw duty in the Atlantic aboard the U.S.S. Pillsbury, a destroyer escort.

Mr. Kerschbaum was active for 35 years with the Boy Scouts of America, and for many years led a ship of Sea Scouts in Washington. He earned the Quartermaster's Badge and the Skipper's Key, and was award the Silver Beaver.

He was a member of Rotary International and a past president of the Rotary chapter in Beltsville. He attended St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in Washington and held various offices there.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, of the home in Hillcrest Heights; two sons, Matthias of Cambridge, Md., and Richard of Warren, Ohio; a daughter. Ann Mountjoy of Camp Springs; two brothers, John C., of Oxon Hill, and Leo J., of Davidsonville, Md.; three sister, pauline Vlahos of Washington. Josephine Lutkiewitz, of Silver Spring, and Eva Shulte, of Omaha.Neb., and five grandchildren.