Helen Macleod Buell, 79, who first moved to the Washington area in 1927 and who was active in church and service organizations, died at Circle Terrace Hospital in Alexandria on Saturday following a heart attack.

Mrs. Buell and her husband, William Charles Buell, a State Department employe who died in 1963, moved here from Minneapolis in 1927. They lived in London, Paris, and Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, from 1947 to 1962, when Mr. Buell was stationed in those cities with the State Department. They then returned to this area and Mrs. Buell was a resident of Arlington at the time of her death.

She had been a member of the Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington since the 1930s. She also was active in support of the Florence Crittenden Home and the Boy Scouts. During her years in Paris, she was active in the American Church of Paris.

Mrs. Buell was a native of Duluth, Minn.

Her survivors include two sons, Wallace M. Buell, of Alexandria, and Douglas M. Buell, of Bethesda; two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Charity and Education Fund of the St. Andrew's Society of Washington, D.C., or to the American Diabetes Association.