Walter E. Cole, 57, a retired General Services Administration employe who was a leader in church organizations, died Friday at Providence Hospital after a heart attack.

Mr. Cole was a member of Holy Name Catholic Church in Washington where he had been president of the Holy Name Society and had served on the board of trustees, the church council and board of the church credit union. The also had been a member of the choir, an usher and a lector.

He was a lieutenant of the 4th degree of Commandery 388 of the Knights of St. John, and a lay-rector and team leader in the Washington Cursillo Movement, Catholic layman's training program.

Mr. Cole was a native of Washington. A graduate of Armstrong High School, he attended Howard University. During World War II, he served with the Army Air Corps in the Pacific and remained in the reserves until retiring in 1960.

He joined the Treasury Department shortly after the war, then transferred to the General Services Administration in 1949. He worked for the GSA's Federal Supply Service in Middle River, Md., as well as in Washington. Mr. Cole retired from the supply service as chief of the order processing branch in 1974.

He received a number of government awards for his work and certificates of commendation for his role in United Givers Fund and government bond drives.

Mr. Cole was a member of the Mount Olive Civic Association.

He is survived by his wife, Cornelia, a daughter, Bernadette Moore, and a son, Walter Jr., all of the home in Washington; three other daughters, Rosalind Butler, of Palmer Park, and Carol Swiggins and Constance Johnson, both of Oxon Hill; four other sons, Lawrence, of Fort Washington, Md., Army Pvt. Albert, of Fort Gordon, Ga., Army Pvt. Alfred, of Germany, and Marine Corps Pvt. Reginald, of Memphis, Tenn.; three sisters, Mary Richards, of Philadelphia, and Lottie Davis and Katherine Ackers, both of Washington; three brothers, Donald, of Washington, Albert, of Philadelphia, and Benjamin, of Radcliff, Ky., and 11 granchildren.