Sarah R. Smith, 53, a community aide for the D.C. public schools' safety and security division, died Saturday at Providence Hospital after a heart attack.

Mrs. Smith came here from her native Lincolnton, Ga., at an early age. After attending the Martha Washington vocational school here she worked for 20 years for High's Dairy Stores, first as a saleswoman and later as a store manager.

Her ambition was to work as a counselor, however, and in 1965, Mrs. Smith joined the Washington Urban League's neighborhood development center, first as a neighborhood consumer aide and later as a consumer adviser and health coordinator.

Mrs. Smith worked for the Urban League for four years. During that time she helped organize an inner-city neighborhood credit union, a citizen health committee and the first D.C. Health Fair. She also assisted in community program planning and helped develop cooperative business and real estate ventures in urban renewal areas.

In 1970, she joined the D.C. public school system and was working in the safety and security division at her death.

Mrs. Smith earned a general education diploma in 1969 after studying with private tutors.

She was active in the Washington Urban League, the Junior Citizens' Corps and local PTA organizations, as well as in the City-Wide Consumer Council, the Model Cities Health Committee and the K Street Homeowner Association.

She attended the Ebenezer Baptist Church here, where she served as vice president of the senior choir, as a Sunday School teacher and on the missionary society.

Survivors include her husband, Thelbert P. Smith, of the McGuire's Veterans Hospital in Richmond; four daughters, Althea, Jacqueline, Wendy and Paulette Dickson; a son, Gordon; a half sister, Delores Spinner, and a brother Willie, all of Washington; another brother, Sammy, of Orange County, Va., and seven grandchildren. CAPTION: Picture, SARAH R. SMITH