Ben H. Pubols, 79, a retired Agriculture Department economist, died Sunday at Arlington Hospital of complications following surgery.

He was working in the section dealing with fruit crops in the economic and statiscal analysis division of agriculture's Economic Research Service when he retired in 1965.

Mr. Pubols came to Washington in 1928. He worked in the U.S. Tariff Commission and then the Census Bureau and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration.

From 1934 until returning to the Agruculture Department in 1943, he was a professor and head of the department of agricultural economics at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.

He was born on a a farm near West Union, Ore. He graduated from Oregon State Univerity and earned a master's degree in agriculture from Kansas State University. Later he earned another master's degree and a doctorate in economics from Harvard University.

Mr. Pubols was a former president of the Northwest Arlington Civic Association. He was a 32nd degree Masson and a member of the Scottish Rite Lodge of Alexandria and Kena Temple. He had belonged to the First Baptist Church of Washington since 1929.

Mr. Pubols lived in Arlington.

He is survived by a son, Ben H. Jr., of Bala-cynwyd, Pa.; a sister, Frieda, and two brother, John and Harold, all of Oregon; two other borthers, Dan of California, and Emil, of Colorado, and one grandchild.