Marian Ryan Sullivan, 65, a Washington native who was active in the travel business here for many years, died of cancer Sept. 11 at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, Calif.

Mrs. Sullivan was a graduate of old Western High School here. She joined Waters Ideal Tours in the 1930s, and remained active in the firm until she left the Washington area in the mid-1950s. In the course of her work, she led tours to such farflung places, as China, Japan, the Amazon basin, and Europe.

She later operated her own travel business in Greenwich, Conn. She and her husband, John S. Sullivan, an airlines representatives, moved to San Francisco in 1964, and to Napa four years ago.

In addition to her husband, of the home in Napa, survivors include two sons, John of Chicago and Christopher, of San Francisco; six daughters, Sister Mary Ann Sullivan, of Dubuque, Iowa, Shiela Sullivan, Rita Clunies-Ross and Martha Asten, all of San Francisco, Ellen Leary, of Australia, and Nancy Leftner, of Ketchum, Idaho; a brother, Harry L. Ryan Jr., of Alexandria, three sisters, Patricia Smith, of Fairfax, Eleanore Leet, of Jupiter, Fla., and Ida Kearney, of Albany, N.Y., and 12 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, R.R.3, Dubuque.