Mark F. Ehridge, 84, a retired chairman of the board of the Louisiville Courier-Journal and the Louisville Times Company, died Sunday at his home in Moncure, N.C., after a stroke.

Mr. Ethridge spoke out against racism and poverty long before it became popular to do so. He had joined the Louisville, Ky., newspapers in 1936 as vice president and general manager. He was their publisher from 1942 to 1962. v

He was named to the board of directors in 1961, served as chairman in 1962 and 1963, and retired as a board member last year.

From 1963 to 1965, Mr. Ethridge was vice president and editor of Newsday in Garden City, L.I. He then taught journalism at the University of North Carolina until 1968.

During his newspaper career, Mr. Ethridge carried out several federal government assignments. A former president of the National Association of Broadcasters, he was named in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to study the concentration of radio station ownership. He later was appointed chairman of the Fair Employment Practices Committee. He was appointed by Harry S. Truman to a commission to study whether to grant diplomatic recognition to Bulgaria and Rumania.

Mr. Ethridge, who was born in Meridian, Miss., attended the University of Mississippi. He worked for the Columbus Enquirer-Sun and the Macon Telegraph in Georgia, the Washington Consolidated Press, the New York Sun, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and the Richmond Times-Dispatch before going to Louisville.

Survivors include his wife, the former Willie Snow, of Moncure; three children, Mark F. Jr., of Columbia, S.C., David, of Key West, Fla., and Georgia E. Schneider of Pittsburgh, and 14 grandchildren.