Ella Sophie Ryan, 68, a Capitol Hill staff member for 30 years in 1974 as executive secretary of Sen. Carl Curtis (R-Neb.), died of cancer Friday at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park.

Mrs. Ryan came to Washington in 1941 to accept a job with the old War Department, but joined the office of Rep. Oren Copeland (R-Neb.) instead. Shortly after that she went to work for Carl Curtis, then a member of the House of Representatives.

She later worked for several other members of the Nebraska delegation, including the late Sen. Kenneth S. Wherry (R-Neb.). Curtis won election to the Senate in 1954 and Mrs. Ryan joined his staff as a secretary and research assistant when he took office in January 1955. She worked there until retiring in 1974.

In 1943 the then-Rep. Curtis introduced Mrs. Ryan (the Then-Miss Bland) to M.O. (Bud) Ryan. Two years later she and Mr. Ryan was head of the Washington office of the American Hotel Association.

She was a longtime resident of Silver Spring and was a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church there.

Mrs. Ryan was born into a farm family in Meadow Grove and was reared in Norfolk, Neb. She was a graduate of the Norfolk College of Business. Before coming to Washington, she was active in Republican politics in Nebraska and worked in the office of the Attorney General of Nebraska.

Survivors include a stepson, M.O. (Bus) Ryan Jr. of Bethesda; two brothers, Maiden L. and Carl Bland, both of Nebraska; two sisters, Elizabeth May Smith of Truth Or Consequences, N.M., and Pearle Turke of Independence, Mo., and five step-grandchildren.

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