Emily Harrold Withers, 88, a former professional singer who was active in historical and women's organizations, died of a stroke Thursday at a hospital in Waynesville, N.C.

Mrs Withers was born in Sanford, Fla., and grew up in Waynesville, N.C. She lived in Washington for more than 60 years before returning to Waynesville about six months ago. She lived at the Haywood Rest Home there.

A lyric soprano and a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, she sang professionally here for a number of years and also was a church soloist.

In 1929, she married Army Maj. Guy Withers, who later became an insurance executive here. He died in 1964.

Mrs. Withers was a past president of the Order of First Families of Virginia. She was a former regent of the Susan Hetzel Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a past director of the Washington branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, and a former member of the board of The Washington Club.

She was active in National Symphony affairs and was a member of numerous historical organizations, including the Daughters of 1812, Daughters of Colonial Wars, the Jamestown Society, Colonial Dames of America, Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the Cincinnati, and the Magna Carta Dames. She also was a member of the 20th Century Club, the English Speaking Union and American Penwomen.

Survivors include three sisters, Lois Harrold of Waynesville, Lily Stewart of Lancaster, Calif., and Alice Lee of Asheville, N.C.