The Ven. W. Leigh Ribble, 76, retired archdeacon of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia and former rector of The Falls Church Episcopal in Falls Church, died of cancer Saturday at his home in Richmond.

He had served as archdeacon from 1962 until retiring in 1968. He was rector of The Falls Church, an edifice dating back to 1973, for 10 years before his transfer to Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Richmond. He was rector there until five years ago.

Dr. Ribble was born in Brazil, where his father was an Episcopal minister. He was a graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria and of the University of Virginia, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a master of divinity degree from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria. The seminary later gave him an honorary doctor of divinity degree.

Dr. Ribble taught in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in the late 1920s and then was in charge of a district in the Archdeaconry of the Blue Ridge for five years before moving to Falls Church.

He was a former editor of The Virginia Churchman and The Southern Churchman an associate editor of The Episcopal Church News.

He was a chaplain of the Society of the Cincinnati and a member of the Jamestown Society, the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Sons of the American Revolution.

His wife, Constance Murray Stroble Ribble, died in 1972.

He is survived by his second wife, the former Edith Adkins Pfeiffer Hoskins of the home in Richmond; a son, Watkins Leigh Jr. of Alexandria; two daughters, Margaret Ribble Caruthers, of Raleigh, N. C., and Pattie Ribble Chappell, of Ashland, Va.; a brother, George Wallace, of Bremerton, Wash., and McCalla, Ala.; four sisters, Mrs. Thomas U. Johnson and Mrs. Spencer L. Cowan, both of Sequim, Wash., Mrs. Paul Wade, of El Paso, Tex., and Mrs. Eberhard Schaschtsiek, of Cape Coral, Fla., and nine grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Richmond.