Jack W. Reiss, 74, an Alexandria businessman who was active in civic organizations, died of cardiac arrest Tuesday at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria.

For the past 13 years, Mr. Reiss had been affiliated with the St. Clair Applicance Distributors in Alexandria where he worked in sales and advertising.

He was a member of the Hollindale Citizens Association and had been president of the Fort Hunt Youth Athletic Association.

Mr. Reiss was a native of Washington and a graduate of Central High School. He had lived in Alexandria since 1953.

During the 1920s he was passenger agent for an early Washington-to-New York air transport service.He later worked in commerical radio advertising in Washington, and during the 1930s worked for the advertising department of The Washington Post.

He later was a branch manager for a safe and lock company, a division chief with the Coahstal Corporation, and vice president of Tempo Electronics in Washington before joining the appliance distributorship.

Mr. Reiss wrote the music anbd lyrics for "Ships for Victory," a song of the U.S. Merchant Marine.

His survivors include his wife of 32 years, Marjorie, a daughter, Pamela Wyatt, and a son, Steuart, all of Alexandria; another son, Lynn, of Pompano Beach, Fla., and three grandchildren.