William Wallace Stickney, 79, a retired Marine Corps major general and former official of the Securities and Exchange Commission, died Saturday in is home in Bethesda. He had congestive heart failure.

Gen. Stickney was the principal attorney in the SEC's division of corpotation finance from 1946 until retiring in 1965. Prior to joining the SEC, he had been an attorney with the old National Recovery Administration and engaged in the private practice of law in Washington.

During World War II, he served with the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific. He was among those Marines who landed during the first day at Guadalcanal. It was during the fighting there that he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned command of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He also earned the Legion of Merit with Combat "V".

He also served in combat actions in eastern New Guinea and the Bismarck Archipelago. He also took part in the landings at Saipan and later in the Occupation of Japan.

Following the war, he was recalled to active duty in 1952 to become deputy director of the Marine reserves, and later spent three stints, in 1956, 1957 and 1959, as director of reserves. He retired from active duty about 1960.

Gen. Stickney was a native of New York City and a graduate of Dartmouth College where he was an All-American football player. He was a 1930 graduate of the National University Law School, now part of George Washington University.

From 1926 to 1930, while attending law school, he wrote a daily legal collumn for the old Washington Times-Herald.

During World War I, he enlisted in the Navy and served aboard sub-chasers and destroyers. He received his commission in the Marine reserves in 1930.

Survivors include his wife, the former Ione Lee Scott, of Bethesda: a son, William Wallace III of Mercer Island, wash., and three grandchildren.