Grace W. Horton, 65, a retired child development consultant with the Arlington public schools, died Wednesday at her home in Arlington. She suffered from a heart ailment.

She was a consultant at the Nellie Custis and Barcroft elementary schools when she retired in 1976 after more than 25 years' service. Earlier she had been a teacher at Drew Elementary School and principal of Hoffman Boston Elementary School.

Mrs. Horton was born in Raleigh, N.C., and was a graduate of Shaw University there. She earned a master's degree from Columbia University, and also studied at George Washington, New York, Boston, Northwestern and Harvard universities and the University of Denver.

She taught in North Carolina schools before coming here about 1946. She belonged to a number of professional organizations, including the National and Arlington education associations, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the Association for Curriculum Development, the National Guidance and Personnel Association, the American Association of University Women and the Arlington Retired Teachers Association.

Mrs. Horton was a member of Lomax AME Zion Church in Arlington, the Bethea chapter of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Arlington chapter No. 173 of the Eastern Star and the NAACP. She was on the board of management of the Veterans Memorial YMCA and belonged to the Arlington View Civic Association.

She is survived by her husband, William H., of the home. and two sisters, Ida Murchison, of Arlington, and Mamie Watson, of Raleigh.