Richard L. Hiner, 72, a retired food technologist and former chief of the Department of Agriculture's meat quality laboratory, died of cancer March 26 at his home in Hyattsville.

A meat research specialist, Dr. Hiner joined the Agricultural Research Center (now a part of the Science and Education Administration) in 1929. He then became chief of the old meat quality laboratory and was a food technologist in the meat science research laboratory when he retired in 1973.

Born in Urbana III., he was reared in Moneta, Iowa, and earned a bachelor's degree in animal husbandry from Iowa State Unversity in 1929. He later earned a master's degree in zoology from George Washington University and a doctorate in food technology from the University of Massachusetts.

Dr. Hiner was a member of the American Meat Science Association and received the association's top honor, the Signal Service Award, in 1973. He also was a member of the American Society of Animal Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of Science, the Institute of Food Technologists and the Phi Tau Sigma honorary food science society.

He was a past master of Joppa Lodge No. 35, past commander of Potomac Commandry No. 3, Knights Templar, past patron of Joppa Lodge No. 27, Order of the Eastern Star, and served on the board of directors of the Masonic and Eastern Star Home. He also was a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, the Scottish Rite and Almas Temple Shrine.

He lived in Falls Church and was a member of Foundry United Methodist Church.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia, of the home; a sister, Marian Ackerman, of Rowley, Iowa, and two brothers, Edwin W., of Omaha, and Albert M., of Merrillville, Ind. CAPTION: Picture, RICHARD L. HINER