Mercedes Warren Boyle, 87, a former nurse and one of the founders in 1933 of a free lunch program for needy Washington children, died Thursday at a Bellevue, Wash., nursing home of a urinary tract infection.

Mrs. Boyle lived here for 62 years before moving to Bellevue six years ago to live with a daughter, Mercedes Winters.

In 1937, she was awarded a gold medal of honor for outstanding public service for her work as director of the free lunch campaign for needy children in D.C. schools. The award was sponsored by Charles Schwartz and Sons, a Washington jewelry firm.

Mrs. Boyle explained that she first observed the effects of proper diet on her own children and then conceived of the idea of the free lunches when she saw needy children who were undernourished. "I don't consider the work I am doing a charity," she said, "but an investment in good citizenship."

Born in Kansas, Mrs. Boyle came here in about 1911 and graduated from the nursing school at old Children's Hospital.

She was a former member of the board of directors of the Florence Crittenton Home here and had lobbied before Congress for legislation to feed hungry children.

Her husband, John Boyle Jr., a former patent attorney and retired Department of Justice lawyer, died in 1971.

Besides Mrs. Winters, survivors include another daughter, Patricia Kamien of Kensington, 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A son, John Boyle III, died in 1975.