Edna M. Stevens, 73, a retired personnel specialist with the CIA who began her government career in the 1930s with the old War Department, died of cancer Tuesday at the home of a sister, Lynda S. Flatford, in Triangle, Va.

Miss Stevens, who maintained a home in Washington from the late 1930s until her death, was born in Manassas and grew up in Stafford, Va. She was a graduate of Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Va., and taught in the Stafford County public school system in the early 1930s.

She began her federal career when she moved to Washington and was a clerk in the War Department assigned to the old Army Air Corps. After the CIA was founded in 1947, she transferred to that organization. She began as a clerk and later went into personnel work. She retired in 1968.

Miss Stevens was a member of the Margaret Whetten Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and of the Lebanon Chapter No. 25 of the Order of the Eastern Star.

In addition to Mrs. Flatford, survivors include two other sisters, L. Winifred and Thelma V. Stevens, both of Clearwater, Fla., and one brother, John L. Stevens St. of Falls Church.

The the family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Hospice of Northern Virginia in Arlington.