Francis J. Kane, 83, a Washington businessman active for many years in numerous community organizations, died Friday at his home in Washington after apparently suffering a heart attack.

He was president of Kane Transfer Co., which he had established in 1918, and which he saw grow into one of the major trucking companies based in the Washington area.

Mr. Kane, a former president of the Washington Board of Trade and chairman of the D.C. Armory Board, remained active in his firm until his death. He had visited the terminal in Tuxedo, Md., on Thursday. He usually showed up there daily.

He also was an active member of the boards of directors of the National Capital Bank and the National Permanent Building Association until his death.

Mr. Kane was born in Washington, and in later years was thought to be almost a walking chamber of commerce for the city.

"I don't like to sound narrow-minded," he once said in an interview, "but anybody who can live in Washington and doesn't be foolish."

He had a through knowledge of the city he loved. After attending Gonzaga High School and studying typing and shorthand at the old Draughman's Business College, he was a stenographer-secretary in the office of Champ Clark of Missouri, speaker of the House of Representatives.

He soon accumulated some money, borrowed some more from the bank where he later became a director, and started his own business.

It consisted of one truck that he drove himself. As a result, he once said, "I know every corner in the city of Washington. That accounts for some of my success."

Located in Washington for many years, the firm was moved to Maryland in the early 1960s. Mr. Kane, however, remained a resident of the city.

He made his mark early in community affairs. He was a founder and later president of the Merrick Boys Camp, established in 1937 by Washington business and professional men for deserving boys.

He became a director of the Metropolitcan Police Boys Club, a vice president of Catholic Charities, and was on the boards of St. Vincent's Home and School, St. John's College High School and Immaculate High School and Junior College.

He served as president of the D.C. Trucking Association and the Association of Oldest Inhabitants of D.C.

In 1954, Mr. Kane was elected president of the Washington Board of Trade and served for a year. In the late 1950s, he became a member and then chairman of the Commissions' Planning Advisory Council. He also became president of the Merchants and Manufacturers Association of Washington.

The Board of Trade spoke of him as "a good will ambassador par excellence" and honored him for his service. There were many other honors, including the District Interfaith Award from the Washington Interfaith Committee.

Mr. Kane was appointed to the D.C. Armory Board in 1961 and was elected chairman at its first meeting after his appointment. The board has jurisdiction over Kennedy Stadium. He served until 1972.

He was a former director of Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co. and a member of Kiwanis International. He had served on the advisory board for Providence Hospital and on the board of trustees of the House of the Good Shepherd. He was a parishioner of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

Mr. Kane, whose grandparents came from Ireland, was a past president of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine B., of the home; two daughters, Catherine M. Castiglia and Gertrude Forbes, both of Bethesda, 13 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may in the form of contributions to the Little Sisters of the Poor.