Eugene J. Quindlen, 57, a retired assistant director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, died of cancer Monday at his home in Falls Church.

Mr. Quindlen, who has been with the federal government since 1946, when he joined the Veterans Administration, had held a number of positions in various agencies, including HEW and the Federal Civil Defense Administration.

His last position was with the Office of Emergency Preparedness, which he joined in 1961 when it was called the Office of Emergency Planning. Later in 1970, when the name was changed, he became the assistant director of government preparedness.

He participated in NATO activities on behalf of the United States, managed federal disaster relief programs, directed the administration of the price-wage freeze of 1971, and handled all emergency arrangements of the executive branch.

After Mr. Quindlen retired from government in 1973, he joined the firm of J. M . Chambers & Co., Inc., consultants in international trade, and became its president.

A native of Philadelphia, he received a law degree from Georgetown University Law School. He was a member of the D.C. Bar andthe John Carroll Society of Washington. He was lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.

Survivors include his wife, Katherine Devine, of the home, eight children, Dr. Eugene A., of Framingham, Mass, James D., of Columbus, Ohio, Mrs. Joseph F. O'Neill, of Chevy Chase. Mrs. David C. Blackwell, of Penn Yan, N.Y., Mrs. Sidney G. Main, of Springfield, Mo., and Brian P., Kathleen J. and Mark P., all of the home; four brothers and two sisters.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University Hospital.