Frank J. Scherschel, 74, a retired Life Magazine photographer who was director of the old U.S. Information Agency's photo laboratory and a resident of Arlington from 1962 to 1972, died Saturday at a hospital in Madison, Wis. He had cancer.

Mr. Scherschel was a native of Chicago and began his photographic career with the Milwaukee Journal in 1962. He was head of that paper's photographic department before becoming a photographer for Life in December 1941.

During World War II, he covered war stories in the Atlantic and Pacific, accompanied an arctic supply convoy to Murmansk, was on the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasions and filmed the liberation of Paris.

After the war, he worked in Life bureaus in New York, Chicago, Paris, and Lima, Peru. He was working in Life's Houston bureau when he retired in January 1961.

During the 10 years he worked for the USIA in Washington and lived in Arlington, he was a member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington. He had lived since 1962 in Baraboo, Wis., where he had operated a camera store.

Survivors include his wife, Jean of Baraboo; a daughter, Jean Scherschel, of McLean; and two brothers, Joseph, of Flint Hill, Va., and George, of Cary, Ill.