Msgr. Patrick J. Ryan, 75, a former Army chief of chaplains, was found dead Tuesday at his home in Northwest Washington. The D.C. medical examiner's office said he had died of a heart attack.

Msgr. Ryan served in the Army from 1928 until his retirement in 1958 with the rank of major general. He was chaplain of the 3rd Infantry Division during the landings in North Africa in World War II, and later became chaplain of the 5th Army in the Italian campaign, where he joined in the amphibious assault at Salerno.

Following the war, he was deputy thief of chaplains from 1946 to 1948, and again from 1952 to 1954. He was the only person to hold that position twice.

In 1954, President Eisenhower nominated him to be Army chief of chaplains, and following confirmation by the Senate, he served for four years in that post.

After his retirement, Msgr. Ryan became executive vice president of the Catholic Digest, a monthly publication based in St. Paul, Minn. He maintained his residence in Washington and commuted to Syt. Paul when necessary. He was a member of the magazine's board of directors until his death.

Msgr. Ryan's military decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Bronze star (which he received for his work among American, South African and Brazilian troops in Italy), the Distinguished Service Medal, awarded to him at his retirement, and the Army Commendation Ribbon. He also received decorations from Brazil, Britain, France and Italy.

In 1947, Pope Pius XII elevated him to the rank of domestic prelate with the title of monsignor. He became a prothonathory apostolic in 1967, and was Grand Prior MIlitary and Hospitaler of the Order of St. Lazarus, Jerusalem.

During his tour as chief of chaplains, Msgr. Ryan said that "a successful chaplain must like men, be able to get along with soldiers, and have the physical stamina to stay wit them when they're doing their job. But he must at the same time preserve his dignity. He must, in other words, be with them but not of them. This thing of being 'one of the boys' is a lot of nonsense."

Msgr. Ryan was born on a farm near Litchfield, Minn. He graduated from St. Thomas Collage in St. Paul in 1923, and from St. Paul Seminary ther in 1927, the year he was ordained. He served a parish in Minneapolis for a year before beginning his military career.

His assignments before World War II included three years in Hawaii and four years as chaplain of Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.

Msgr. Ryan received honorary degrees from St. Thomas College, Loyola University in Chicsgo and Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Survivors include a sister, Mary Croyle, of New Kensington, Pa.