Gerald W. Reif, 61, an American Red Cross official who had served as a counsel to the Veterans Administration's board of veterans appeals here since 1968, died of a heart attack Friday at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Mr. Reif joined the Red Cross in 1951. He was a field director in this country and in England, Germany and Panama before moving to this area in 1968, as a discharge review counsel and claims counsel on the VA's veterans appeals board.

A native of Union Springs, N.Y., he earned a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University in 1950. He served in the Army in Africa and Italy in World War II and worked for a farmer's cooperative in New York state before beginning his Red Cross career.

Mr. Reif was a member of Warren Lodge No. 147 of the Masons and American Legion Post No. 1107, both in Union Springs. He was a member of the Men's Club of Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton and of the American Contract Bridge League.

Survivors include his wife, Eleanor P., of Kensington; a daughter, Virginia R. Downey of Nokesville, Va., and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Red Cross or Hughes United Methodist Church.