Richard Bray, 64, professor emeritus and former dean of the College of Continuing Education at American University, died of congestive heart failure Sunday at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Mr. Bray joined the American University faculty in 1954 as associate dean of the school of social sciences and public affairs and later served as dean. He also was director of the division of general and special studies, associate dean of administration, associate dean of faculties and professor of government and public administration before retiring in 1969 for reasons of health.

From November 1958 to September 1960, he was field director of a pilot project, the Adams-Morgan Demonstration Project, which was established to help conserve the 45-block area in Northwest Washington.

He also was chairman of the organizing committee for the Washington Center for Metropolitan Studies, chaired by the Citizen's Council for a Clean Potomac and was a member of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.

A resident of Takoma Park and a former Bethesda resident, he also was active in Montgomery County civic affairs.

Mr. Bray was born in Redvale, Colo., and earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Colorado.

Before joining American University, he directed adult education centers at the University of Colorado and the State College of Washington for about 15 years.

Mr. Bray also organized an educational program for academic credit at five Army and Air Force bases in the South.

His first wife, the former Mayfield Sleeth, died in 1974.

Survivors include his wife, the former Jean Retharst, of Takoma Park; three children by his first marriage, Michael Bray of Silver Spring, Ruth Kerschbaum of Alexandria and Martha Bray of Rockport, Wash., and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Environmental Action Foundation in Washington.