Joseph Ernst Michaud, 65, an organist, choirmaster and composer and former music director of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, died of cancer Oct. 2 at a hospital in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

After he was named music director in 1966, Mr. Michaud established the National Shrine Chorale and the continuing summer series of Sunday evening organ and carillon recitals. He also invited guest organ soloists to perform on the Shrine's great organ and arranged for the recording of such recitals.

He was known for his sacred compositions and served on the choral music and composition committee of the American Guild of Organists.

Earlier, Mr. Michaud had been organist-choirmaster of churches in Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

Following his retirement from the Shrine in 1977. Mr. Michaud moved to Hilton Head Island. He was a member of the Holy Family Catholic Church in Hilton Head and served as church organist.

He was born in Sumas, Wash., and attended the Sherwood Music School and DePaul University in Chicago. He also was affiliated with the Royal College of London, England.

In 1977, Mr. Michaud received the papal honor of membership in the Knighthood of St. Gregory.He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

Survivors include his wife, Rose Mary Louise Bone Michaud, of the home: three sons, Denis, Paul and Frank, all of California: eight daughters, Renee Testin, of Richmond, Mary Rose Bozik, of Pittsburgh, Therese Najarian and Charlotte Grogan, both of Silver Spring, Angele Marie, of Arlington, Delores, of California, Nannette MacNaughton and Jacqueline, both of Maine, and 17 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hilton Head Hospital Trust Fund in Hilton Head Island.