Grover C. Chappell, 56, staff director with the Agriculture Department's Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, died of cancer Monday at Mount Vernon Hospital.

He joined the department's Foreign Agricultural Service here as a commodity analyst in 1957. Two years later, he became U.S. agricultural attache in Tel Aviv.

Mr. Chappell returned to the Agriculture Department in Washington in 1961 as a staff economist to the secretary of agriculture. From 1965 to 1967, he was in Paris as agricultural attache with the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

He then returned to the department here, and in 1969 was named a staff director.

Mr Chappell, who lived in Alexandria, was born in Louisville, Miss. A graduate of Mississippi State University, he held a master's degree from Iowa State University and took further graduate work at the University of Minnesota.

He had worked for Armour and Co. in Chicago and then served in the Army Air Forces before coming here.

He is survived by his wife, Carole, and three sons, Stephen, John and James, all of Alexandria; a daughter, Theresa, of Chicago; his mother, Alma White Chappell, of Louisville; four brothers, Roy, John and Percy, all of Mississippi, and Cecil, of Los Angeles, and a sister, Jessie Moody of Mississippi.