Robert B. Waite, 65, a civilian employe of the Navy Department for more than 30 years before he retired in 1973, died Tuesday at Potomac Hospital in Woodbrige, Va., after an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Waite began his career in 1941 as an instructor at the Navy Teacher Training Center in Chicago. He later served as an instructor and training specialist in Navy Air Technical Training Centers in Jacksonville, Fla., and near Memphis, Tenn., before moving here in 1963.

He worked in the short facilities programming division director.

Mr. Waite was awarded the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award. He was recommended for the award for his knowledge of existing shore facilities and installations and for carrying out a number of special assignments for the Navy during his Pentagon career.

In one of these assignments, Mr. Waite developed a plan to replace the Navy's prestige cars with standard light cars "to prevent adverse public opinion in light of of the energy crisis."

Mr. Waite was born in West Valley, N.Y. He earned both bachelor's and master's degrees at Ohio State Univerity.

Before joining the Navy Department, he taught industrial arts at serveral high schools in Ohio and in Wakefield, Va.

He is survived by his wife, Barbars S., of the home in Arlington; two sons, Bitrt E., of Knoxville, Tenn., and Norman B., of Laurel, Md., and a brother, Lloyd L., Shreveport, La.