Donald E. Sommer, 68, who retired in 1977 as executive vice president of the Master Printers of America, died of cardiac arrest Monday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

In 1953, Mr. Sommer joined the Printing Industries of America here as technical director. He transferred to the PIA's Master Printers division in 1957 as executive vice president and headed the division until his retirement. One of two autonomous industrial relations divisions within the PIA, the Master Printers of America represents nonunion or open-shop employers.

While serving as technical director of the PIA, he was credited with developing production standards that are used in the printing industry throughout the world.

Following his retirement, Mr. Sommer was a consultant to the PIA and the National Association of Manufacturers. He also was serving as executive secretary of the Graphics Arts Association Executives at his death.

Mr. Sommer began his career in 1936 in his native Chicago. He then worked in Ohio and Pennsylvania before moving to the Washington area. He earned his bachelor's degree and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Chicago.

He lived in Potomac and was active in the Concord-St, Andrew's United Methodist Church in Bethesda, where he had served on a number of boards and commissions and sang in the choir.

Mr. Sommer was a 32nd-degree Mason and a member of the board of directors of the Columbia Federal Savings and Loan Association. He was an officer in the Community Ministries of Montgomery County and was active in the Glen Park Civic Association, the Montgomery County Taxpayers League, the Young Men's Christian Association, the PTA and the American Family Society, a nationwide organization.

Survivors include his wife, Clarice Ann, of Potomac; a daughter, Susan Best of Rockville; a son, Donald C., of Alexandria; two sisters, Dorothy Blang of Hinsdale, Ill., and Carolyn Hubbert of Pontiac, Mich., and a grandson.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Memorial Fund at Concord-St. Andrew's Church in Bethesda.