Arthur Paul Coe, 81, a retired senior attorney in the bureau of public debt in the Treasury Department, died of a cardiovascular accident Saturday at the Washington House retirement home in Alexandria.

Mr. Coe was born in New York City. He served as an ambulance driver in France in World War I and then as an officer in the Army. After the war he attended the University of California. Where he graduated in 1921. He earned his law degree at the University of Miami in Florida in 1929.

He moved to Washington and began his career at the bureau of public debt in 1934. He remained in the bureau until his retirement in 1967.

Mr. Coe attended St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington for many years. He was founder of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington and served it as treasurer, vestryman, usher and law reader.

He also was a founder of the National Lawyers Club of D.C. and a trustee of the Blue Ridge School in Dyke. Va. He was a member of the American Legion.

Survivors include his wife, the former Helen Stotesbury, whom he married in 1947, of the home; an adopted son, Gerald Orville Coe, of Lorton, Va.; a brother, Fordyce B. Coe, of New Britain, Conn,; seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.