Louella Carver Dirksen, 80, the widow of Sen. Everett M. Dirksen (R-III.), died of cancer yesterday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Dirksen was regarded as a substantial contributor to her husband's success at the polls. She not only participated in Sen. Dirksen's campaigns, but spoke on behalf of others.

In 1954, while her husband was chairman of the Republican Senate campaign committee, Mrs. Dirksen served as spokesman for the National Federation of Republican Women's "GOP Election Express." She traveled from Washington to Los Angeles, making 200 stops in 12 states.

At a luncheon given in Mrs. Dirksen's honor in 1970, Glee Gomien, a former executive secretary to Sen. Dirksen and a family friend, paid a nostalgic tribute to "Mrs. D", as she called Mrs. Dirksen.

Gomien described Mrs. Dirksen as "the lady with whom I got caught playing gin rummy on election day, 1950, when the preacher came to the Dirksen home to visit . . . the lady who shared the back of a truck with Dick Gregory in South Chicago in a rainstorm one night in 1962, and who made a wonderful speech for her husband . . . and the lady who was positively uncanny in bringing her leader back on the beam whenever he started flying too high."

Mrs. Dirksen's daughter, Joy, who is the wife of Sen. Howard Baker (R-Tenn.), once threw a suprise birthday party in her mother's honor. Mrs. Baker had composed the following lyrics about her mother, which guests sang to the tune of 'MacNamara's Band:"

"Oh, me name's Louella Dirksen

And they say I'm far -

My son-in-law's a Senator ,

My old man's a TV star -

The folks at my birthday party ,

Wanna know how old I am

Well, I'm sixty-nine and holding

And it doesn't mean a damn ."

Mrs. Dirksen wrote a biography of her husband, "The Honorable Mr. Marigold: My Life with Everett Driksen," which was published in 1972.

Writer Abigail McCarthy once wrote of the Dirksens that "they shared the idiom of unabashed sentimentality, piety, and openly professed patriotism."

Mrs. Dirksen was born in Pekin, Ill. Her father has a wholesale tobacco company and her mother had worked as a dressmaker. After two years at the Illinois State Normal College, she was bookkeeper in Pekin, then worked for a Peoria, Ill., department store.

She met Everett Dirksen in Pekin in early 1924. Mrs. Dirksen later wrote that he would come calling in "an old Maxwell with a quite generous running board as he was leaving and hold onto the window and ride for blocks that way."

Following her marriage on Christmas Eve, 1927, Mrs. Dirksen became treasurer of the Dirksen Brothers Bakery in Pekin. Later, she kept her husband's campaign accounts.

Dirksen was a member of the House of Representatives from 1933 to 1949, and was elected to the Senate in 1950, serving until his death in September 1969.

Mrs. Dirksen divided her time between Illinois and a Washington apartment. In 1958 the Dirksens bought the first house they ever owned. It was in Broad Run, Va., on a hill above the Potomac.

Mrs. Dirksen, who designed much of the home, caught catfish in the Potomac and canned vegetables the Senator grew.

Holding a variety of civic and charitable posts, she headed the camp and hospital service committee of the District of Columbia Red Cross in the mid 1940s, ran speakers bureaus, and organized embassy tours for charity. President Nixon appointed her to the President's Commission On Aging.

Following her husband's death, she helped raise funds for the Everett McKinley Dirksen Memorial Library in Pekin. She said she envisoned a "quite place for young people to study the thoughts of Everett Dirksen, and hopefully, there will be a garden containing smiling marigolds."

Mrs. Dirksen also continued to champion one of her husband's causes, the idea that the marigold be designated our national flower.

In recent years, she had divided her time between homes in De Bary, Fla., and Broad Run.

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Dirksen is survived by two grandchildren. CAPTION: Picture, LOUELLA CARVER DIRKSEN