Edward R. Finkenstaedt, 91, a retired Washington investment counselor who headed church and cultural organizations, died of arteriosclerotic heart disease Saturday at his home in Washington.

He came to Washington in 1927 and joined the brokerage firm of G.M.P. Murphy Co. He became affiliated with the firm of Auchincloss, Parker & Redpath in 1938 and became a partner 12 years later. He retired in 1967.

Mr. Finkenstaedt was an honorary vice president of the National Symphony Orchestra Association, and had been president of the association for five years. He helped organize the Opera Society of Washington in 1956 and served as its first president.

He was national chairman of the Washington Cathedral building and maintenance funds during the early 1950s, was a trustee of the Washington Cathedral Choral Society, and was on the standing committee of the Diocese of Washington of the Episcopal Church. He was a member of the Chapter of the Washington Cathedral from 1949 to 1957.

Mr. Finkenstaedt had been a vestryman and junior warden of St. John's Episcopal Church in Lafayette Square.

He belonged to the Chevy Chase Club and was president of the Metropolitan Club from 1945 to 1947.

Mr. Finkenstaedt was a native of Bay City Mich., and a 1911 graduate of the University of Michigan. He served as an Army captain in World War I and had lived in Cleveland before moving here.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Lillian, of the home; two daughters, Sita Gibson, of Washington, and Sophie Danforth, of Providence, R.I.; six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the National Symphony Orchestra, St. John's Church Memorial Fund at Lafayette Square, or to Washington Cathedral. CAPTION: Picture, EDWARD R. FINKENSTAEDT