Ansel R. Cleary, 81, helped organize the Federal Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, died of cancer Jan. 7 in Boca Raton, Fla.

He was deputy director of the bureau, part of the Labor Department, when he retired in 1965 after 33 years of federal government service.

Mr. Cleary, who grew up in Sarahsville, Ohio, entered the University of Texas at the age of 16. His education was interrupted by World War I, when he became an Army pilot and flew a variety of airplanes in France.

Later, as a training expert with the federal government, he once remarked: "The rigors of flying those crates held together with baling wire were nothing compared to running a program in Washington."

After the war, Mr. Cleary completed his formal education at Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He published a small weekly newspaper in Ohio until the Depression forced him to abandon newspapering.

In 1933, he became a compliance officer with the national Recovery Administration in Ohio. His successful organization of the Ohio State Committee on Apprentice Training was noted in Washington.

He was one of of seven men chosen to help organize the Labor Department agency in 1936, and he helped guide the passage of legistration that created the federal bureau under the National Apprenticeship Act of 1937.

At a banquet last year marking the 40th anniversary of the legislation, Mr. Cleary noted that in those day's "all we needed to operate the new bureau for a whole year was $75,000, which the Congress voted with some trepidation."

He is survived by his wife, Gertrude Beach Cleary; two brothers, Edward D., of Zanesville, Ohio, and George C, of Detroit, and four sisters, Pearl Yeatman, of Lake Charles, La. Alice Schneider, ot Torrance, Calif., Carrie Cleary, of Los Angeles, and Mary Hunter, of Little Rock, Ark.