Harold B. Wess, 84, a retired professor of business administration and marketing at the American University School of Business Administration, died at his home in Sarasota, Fla., Friday following a stroke.

Prof. Wess first came to Washington in 1951 as an official of the old Office of Price Stabilization. He had been a vice president of Macy's department store in New York and had taught at the Columbia University business school. He began his career at AU after leaving the government in 1953, and remained there until his retirement in 1965.

He was a frequent speaker on economic and business subjects. His themes included the dangers of inflation and the values of the free enterprise system. He wrote or contributed to four books on merchandising and retailing and wrote numerous articles. His work appeared in The Reader's Digest, Human Events, and Christian Economics.

Prof. Wess was born in Poland. His family moved to the United States about 1906 and settled in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York and later attended Columbia University.

His retailing career included 20 years with Macy's. He also was general manager of the old Namm's department store in Brooklyn and chairman of the executive committee of Alexander's Department Stores in New York.

He was an associate in marketing at Columbia University's business school from 1946 to 1951, and had lectured at the Harvard Business School. He was a director of the American Rental Association.

Prof. Wess lived in Washington until 1970, when he retired to Sarasota.

Survivors include his wife, Gladys, of the home in Sarasota, and a son, Edwin, also of Sarasota.