Mabel Ellis Hubbard, 96, a Congregational Church missionary teacher in China for 45 years and an area resident since 1974, died Saturday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home after a stroke.

Mrs. Hubbard arrived in China in 1907 to begin a career that spanned years of upheaval and warfare, including the overthrow of the country by the Japanese in the 1930s, and finally, the victory of the Chinese Communists over Nationalist forces after World War II.

She and her husband, Hugh W. Hubbard, also a Congregational Church missionary, settled in Paotingfu after their m arriage in 1912, where Mrs. Hubbard established a girls' school and introduced programs of child care, nutrition and sewing crafts.

In the mid-1930s, Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard moved to nearby Fan village, where they and four Chinese Christians began a project to educate village girls for the first time in the village's 400-year history. They also instructed the residents in hygiene and the prevention of trachoma, an eye disease prevalent in the village, and organized a well-digging cooperative, and a fund to help rickshaw pullers buy their own vehicles. This project led to the establishment of the North China Christian Rural Service Union, with which the Hubbard said: "A new respect for personality has been developed. . . men have acquired more understanding of their wives' interest; young women have learned to cooperate with their mothers-in-law; children have gained a new importance in community life . . . there is more tolerance for the opinions of others . . . and the spirit of cooperation permeates village life."

Mr. and Mrs. Hubbard, who reared four children in China, spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese internment camp following the Japanese invasion. They were later confined under "house arrest" in Tungchow for 14 months by the Communists before being allowed to leave China in 1952.

They returned to this country and lived in New York City and Auburndale, Mass., before coming to Washington in 1974. Mr. Hubbard died the following year.

Mrs. Hubbard was born in Sac County, Iowa, and grew up near Curtis, Neb. She graduated from Doane College in Crete, Neb., in 1905.

Before going to China, she taught school and was a high school principal in Bartley, Neb.

Survivors include a son, Ward N., if Downers Grove, III.; two daughters, Gladys Swift, of Bethesda, and Emma-Rose, of Hiram, Ohio, 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. CAPTION: Picture, MABEL E. HUBBARD