C. Canby Balderston, 82, a business executive and a former vice chairman of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System, died on Sunday in Media, Pa. He had a heart ailment.

Mr. Balderston was named to the board in 1954 by President Eisenhower and a year later became vice chairman. A fiscal conservative, he became a close friend to the board chairman, William McChesney Martin Jr.

Mr. Balderston had been dean of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania for 13 years at the time of his board appointment. He returned to the academic world after his board tenure ended on Jan. 31, 1966.

He taught courses in corporate finances as an adjunct professor at American University for an additional 12 years. During his years of government and university service, he maintained homes in both Washington and Media.

At the time of his death, Mr. Balderston was still active as president or director of five investment funds managed by Provident National Bank of Philadelphia. He was active in business affairs throughout his life.

He was born in Kennett Square, Pa. He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a master's degree and a doctorate.

In addition to teaching at the Wharton School, he was president of the Leeds and Lippincott Co., which operated the Chalfonte-Haddon Hall in Atlantic City.

He was a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and served as president and then chairman of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

A Quaker, Mr. Balerston was with a Friends' ambulance unit in France and then with the Relief Commission for Belgium in World War I. In World War II, he was civilian wage administrator for the War Department. He received a Medal of Merit for his service.

He was the author or coauthor of several books on business management and industrial relations.

Mr. Balderston had served as a trustee of a number of schools, including Sidwell Friends School here. He also held a number of honorary degrees.

His first wife, Gertrude Emory Balderston, died in 1922.

He is survived by his second wife, the former Ida Roberta Smedley, of the home in Media; two sons, Dr. Frederick E., of Berkeley, Calif., and Robert W., of Inglewood, Calif.; three stepchildren, Walter Smedley of Narberth, Pa., Henry Smedley of Watchung, N.J., and Alice Smedley Felix of Carmel, Calif.; four grandchildren, and nine step-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Riddle Memorial Hospital in Media.