The Rev. John W. Suter, 87, an Episcopal minister for 43 years and a former dean of the Washington Cathedral, died of natural causes Sunday in a Concord, N.H. nursing home.

Dr. Sutler, a graduate of Harvard Univeristy and the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass., was ordained a priest in 1915. He received his Doctor if Divinity Degree from Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y. in 1932.

Born in Winchester, Mass., he served in churches in Massachusetts and New York City before coming to Washington in 1944 as dean of the Washington Cathedral. He served in that capacity until 1950, when he moved to Hopkinton, N.H.

Dr. Suter remained active in the Episcopal Church in Hopkinton and taught at St. Paul's School there until he retired from the active ministry in 1958.

He had been the custodian of the Book of Common Prayer for the Episcopal Church for more than 20 years and wrote and edited a number of religious books, among them "Creative Teaching" and "Open Doors in Religious Education."

Survivors include his wife Alice, of the home in Hopkinton; a daughter, Mrs. Armistead B. Rood, of Washington; a son, John W. Jr, of Fairfield, Conn.; eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren.