Dr. Reuben Esselstyn Wood, 64, who had taught chemistry at George Washington University since 1945, died Monday at the National Orthopaedic & Rehabilition Hospital in Arlington after a heart attack.

Dr. Wood was named full professor in 1958 and served as chairman of the University's chemistry department from 1976 until the time of his death. He was a member of the Faculty Senate for 16 years and was chariman of its executive committee from 1965 to 1969, and again from 1978 until shortly before his death.

On March 14 the Faculty Senate passed a resolution citing Dr. Wood's contributions to "the strengthening of relations between the faculty and the administration and the improvement of the University."

Dr. Wood was a native of Lansing, Mich. and a resident of Arlington. He earned bachelor's and doctoral degrees at the California Institute to Technology and a master's degree at the University of Chicago.

Before joining the faculty of George Washington University, he had been a senior research fellow at the Maryland Research Labs for two years.

He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association of University Professors, and the Wasington Academy of Science. He also belonged to the Cosmos Club. Survivors include a brother, Frank H., Wood of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and two sisters, Mary Hope Stucky of Bogota, Colombia, and Margaret W. Little of Orinda, Calif.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions of the Cyctic Fibrosis Foundation at 1625 I Street N.W. in Washington.