Ruth Riegel Woods, 76, director of nursing services for the American Red Cross from 1957 to 1969, and an area resident since 1934, died of a mesenteric thrombosis, a circulatory disorder, Friday at Arlington Hospital.

Before joining the Red Cross, Mrs. Woods had been affiliated during the 1940s with the old Emergency Hospital where she served as educational director of the hospital and head of its nursing staff.

She was a member of the advisory council of Georgetown University's School of Practical Nursing from 1958 to 1962.She was a past director of the graduate Nurse's Association and had been a member of the D.C. League for Nursing.

She was the recipient of an Outstanding Service Award from the American Red Cross in 1959.

Mrs. Woods was born in Philadelphia. She was a 1926 graduate of Dickinson College, earned a nursing degree at the University of Pennsylvania two years later, and did graduate work at Columbia and Catholic universities.

From 1928 to 1932, she worked at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia where she was an instructor, x-ray techinician, and educational director.

Mrs. Woods lived in Takoma Park before moving to Arlington about 15 years ago.

Her husband of 50 years, Edwin M. Woods, died in 1980. Her survivors include a sister, Ester Riegel Long of Enola, Pa.