The Rev. Dr. Frederick E. Reissig, 86, who was executive secretary of the old Washington Federation of Churches from 1942 to 1961, died of cardiac arrest Sunday in a retirement home in Rochester, N.Y.

During his years with the Federation, now the Council of Churches of Greater Washington, Dr. Reissig led Washington's Protestant churches in a series of major reforms.

It was under his leadership that a program for clinically trained chaplains for mental institutions was begun in this area, and St. Elizebeths Hospital got its first minister.

He also established chaplaincies at the National Institutes of Health and D.C. penal institutions, and began programs for foreign students livings in Washington and for children in the inner city.

Dr. Reissig also was active in the civil rights movement in Washington and worked for the integration of local Protestant churches.

In 1948 he served for a time as press secretary for the World Council of Churches in Geneva and attended that organization's conclave in Amsterdam in August of the that year.

After retiring as executive secretary, Dr. Reissig helped establish and than served as pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Bethesda for four years before retiring in 1965.

He moved to Pompano Beach, Fla., later that year, but while in semiretirement was an assistant pastor of the First Lurtheran Church of Fort Lauderdale. He moved to Rochester, N.Y., in June 1978.

Dr. Ressig was a native of West Henrietta, N.Y., and a graduate of Wagner College in New York. He earned a divinity degree at the Mt. Airy Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia and studied sociology at the University of Rochester. He received an honorary doctorate from Wagner College in 1942.

He was pastor of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Rochester for nearly 20 years before coming to Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Florence, a daughter, Dorothy Lewis, and a son, the Rev. Frederick H., all of Rochester; a brother, the Rev. Dr. Herman F., of Stamford, Conn.; two sisters, Mayme Oswald of Penn Yan N.Y., and Beth Van Westertrie of East Lansing, Mich.; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.