Anita E. Snowden, 83, a former teacher and retired government employe who was active in church and civic organizations in Arlington, died of cardiac arrest Saturday at Arlington Hospital.

Mrs. Snowden was a member of Calloway Methodist Church in Arlington where she had been a Sunday School teacher and superintendent and sung in the choir. She also had been a missions board chairman and church historian.

During the 1940s, she served on the board of directors of the Veterans Memorial YMCA. In more recent years she had been a member of the Northern Virginia Fair Housing Association and had been secretary of the Neighbors Corner, an Arlington senior citizens group.

Mrs. Snowden was born in Herndon and reared in Arlington, where she had lived for more than 70 years. She was a graduate of Armstrong High School in the District of Columbia and Howard University.

She taught at the old Langston Elementary School in Arlington during the late 1920s, and was Langston's recreation director from 1936 to 1941. She joined the Army Department in 1952 and worked as a civilian reviewer in the Casualty Branch before retiring in 1960.

Her husband, Ernest O. Snowden, died in 1959.

Mrs. Snowden's survivors include two daughters, Vivian S. Bullock and Phyllis S. Costley, both of Arlington; six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.