Mary E. Pope, 76, a Washington funeral director and businesswoman since 1923, when her late husband established the Pope Funeral Home here, and a member of civic and philanthropic groups, died Thursday at her home in Temple Hills. She had a heart ailment.

Mrs. Pope, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Dunbar High School and the National Foundation of Funeral Services in Evanston, Ill.

She and her husband of 32 years, Alexander S. Pope Sr., operated the funeral home together until his death in 1956. At that time, Mrs. Pope formed a partnership with her son, Alexander S. Jr., and served as treasurer.

Three years later, she and her son established Limousine Service Associates, which they operated, along with the funeral home, until the business was closed in 1975. In 1971, they formed a new corporation, Alex Pope Inc. Mrs. Pope served as treasurer of the group for 40 years and president for five.

Mrs. Pope also was an organizer of a regional chapter of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs Inc., which included Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

She had appeared before the House Interior Committee on behalf of the Frederick Douglass Home and her testimony was credited with helping obtain government maintenance for the home in the early 1970s. Before that, the home was maintained by the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs.

Mrs. Pope was a member of the Asbury United Methodist Church here.

Besides her son, of Temple Hills, survivors include two sisters, Ruth Horad and Vivian Bowser, both of Washington; a brother, Harold Reynolds of Fairmount Heights, and four grandchildren.