Herman J. Lichty, 76, a retired composing room chief of The Washington Star who was active in Masonic organizations, died of cancer Wednesday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mr. Lichty worked as a printer and linotype operator with the Government Printing Office for 26 years. He then joined the Washington Star, where he worked for 20 years before retiring in 1970 as night composing room chief. He had been a member of Columbia Typographical Union Local No. 101 since 1927.

He was a master of Navel Lodge No. 4 of the Masons and he belonged to the lodge since 1926. He had belonged to the Royal Arch Masons for 50 years and was high priest of Columbia Chapter No. 1 in 1972. He had been grand high priest of the Grand Royal Arch Masons of the District of Columbia from 1977 to 1978.

At the time of his death he was secretary of the Masonic Veteran Association. He had been president of the George Washington Masonic Stamp Club.

Mr. Lichty had been a chief usher and member of the board of the Metropolitan Memorial Church in Washington.

He was president of the Ward Circle Chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.

Mr. Lichty was a native of Bethlehem, Pa., and attended LeHigh University before coming to Washington in the early 1920s. He was a resident of Washington.

Survivors include his wife, Lillian May, of Washington; a son, Donald H., of Arlington; a sister, Caroline Groover, a half sister, Evelyn Souder, and a half brother, J. Lichty, all of Allentown, Pa.,; another sister, Elsie May Loughton of San Dieago, Calif.; another half brother, Edgar H. Lichty of Brookville, Md.; three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.