Ruth Earle Clarke, 71, a musician who sang and played the piano at churches and private functions and who was active in service organizations, died of aneurysm Sunday at Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria.

Mrs. Clarke, who lived in Alexandria, was born in Spartanburg, S.C. She graduated from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and moved to Washington in 1929. She was a member of the Mount Carmel and St. Phillip's Baptist churches in the city.

From 1949 to 1964, she lived in Akron, Ohio, and then returned here, settling in Arlington. She was a recording secretary of the Nauck Civic Association in Arlington. She also was a volunteer driver for the American Red Cross shopping program and for the Drew School Senior Adult Program. rHer work was noted in the Volunteer Recognition Week sponsored by the Arlington Coordinators Roundtable in April 1977.

In later life, Mrs. Clarke became a Catholic. She was a member of the choir of St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington. Throughout her adult life, she gave music lessons and sang and played the piano at church and other functions.

Her marriage to Floyd Samuel Hunt ended in Divorce. Her second husband, Julius Whittington, died in 1962. Her third husband, Clyde L. Clarke, died in 1973.

Survivors include three sons, Floyd Samuel and John R. Hunt, both of Akron, and William (Gene) Hunt of Alexandria; five sisters, Abbie E. Willacy of Akron, Frances E. Smith of Washington, Grace E. Taylor of St. Louis, Agnes E. Miller of Landover, and Pauline E. Chapman of Phoenix; three bothers, James S. Earle Jr. of Washington, Dr. Joseph H. Earle of Potomac, and Paul R. Earle of Falls Church; 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.