Mildred Kelleher Crittenberger, 53, the daughter of a soldier, the widow of a colonel killed in action and the mother of eight children, died of cancer Wednesday at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Mrs. Crittenberger had lived in McLean since 1968 and there she helped organize sports for youngsters. She was active in the Little League, the McLean Youth League and was head of publicity for the Langley High School Athletic Boosters Club. Through these organizations she was a supporter of baseball, basketball, field hockey and football programs.

She was born at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Her parents were Col. and Mrs. Patrick Coleman Kelleher and she grew up at various Army posts. She graduated from high school in San Antonio, Texas, and from the University of Texas at Austin in 1947. She then entered the Foreign Service and was assigned to Guadalajara, Mexico, as a consular officer.

In 1950, she resigned from the State Department and married Dale J. Crittenberger, a son of the late Lt. Gen. Willis D. Crittenberger, a distinguish World War II corps commander. The young Crittenberger was an Army second lieutenant just graduated from the U.S. Military Academy of West Point. Like their parents, Lt. and Mrs. Crittenberger were transferred here and there. They were in Germany twice and in Thailand in the late 1960s.

In 1968, Mrs. Crittenberger and her children moved to McLean. Her husband, by then a colonel, was sent to Vietnam. He was killed in action in 1969.

Mrs. Crittenberger was a member of the West Point Women's Reading Club and a former president of the Bangkok (Thailand) Women's Club. In McLean, she was a member of St. Luke's Roman Catholic Church.

Survivors include four daughters, Josephine Nall, of Ford Hood, Texas, Kristina Brockmeier, of Savannah, Ga., and Julia and Amelia, both of McLean; four sons, Dale, William, Kelly and James, all of McLean; two sisters, Helen Gross of Clarks Summit, Pa., and Marie Piozet, of Los Altos, Calif.; two brothers, James Kelleher of St. Augustine, Fla., and John Kelleher of Germany, and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Northern Virginia chapter of the American Cancer Society.