Lester A. Schlup, 86, who retired in 1958 as director of the division of information programs in the old Federal Extension Service of the Agriculture Department, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday at St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown, Md. He had lived in California, Md., since retirement.

He joined the Extension Service in 1917, became assistant chief of the information and visual aids section in 1923 and was named director of the division of information programs in 1941. He also supervised the Agriculture Department's motion picture and exhibits programs.

During his government tenure, Mr. Schlup served on a team that conducted a study of the Office of War Information programs, on a Commission on Motion Picture in Adult Education and as chairman of the department of languages and literature of the Agriculture Department's Graduate School. He was a representative to the Dumbarton Oaks Conference here which preceded the San Francisco meeting that set up the United Nations. He helped establish a foundation grant that led to the National Project in Agricultural Communications and was on its board of control.

Mr. Schlup helped build the Association of Agricultural College Editors and was on its board of directors. He received its Service Award in 1974. He also was given the Distinguished Service Award of the Agriculture Department. The author of numerous articles for periodicals and yearbooks, he had served for 10 years as editor of the Extension Service Review, which he had helped found.

He was born in Sandusky, Ohio. During World War I, he served in the Army in France, receiving a citation from Gen. John J. Pershing and a Purple Heart. He attended George Washington University and graduated from Southeastern University.

After moving to California, Md., Mr. Schlup became a member of the Saint Marys County Zoning and Planning Commission, the Rotary Club, the Governor's Committee for the Handicapped, the Patuxent River Council and the Maryland Environmental Trust.

He was a member of Signa Delta Chi, a professional journalism society the Navy League, the Art League and the Saint Marys County Historical Society.

His first wife, Pearl Shannon Schlup, died in 1968.

He is survived by his wife, the former Irene Wallace McLennon, of California, Md.; a son, Lester A. Jr., of Vienna; a stepdaughter, Mrs. Heard baumeister of Durham, N.C., and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Church of the Ascension, Lexington Park, Md., or to the American Heart Association.