Ruth Torr van Arsdale, 81, a retired Washington businesswoman and resident of Alexandria, who was active in patriotic and historical organizations, died of chronic cardiorespiratory disease July 13, at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Alexandria.

She and her husband, Howard Campbell van Arsdale, operated the Ever Ready Printing Co. in Washington for 25 years before retiring in 1974.

Mrs. van Arsdale was a past national vice president of the Daughters of 1812, and a past regent of the Mary Washington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Other organizations to which she belonged included the Society of Descendants of Knights of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the Society of Descendants of Colonial Clergy, the Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors, the Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims, and the Huguenot Memorial Society of Oxford.

Mrs. van Arsdale was born in Lynn, Mass., and reared in Minnesota. She attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., and earned a bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Minnesota. Before moving here during World War II, she taught school and was a court reporter in Minnesota.

She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Besides her husband, of Alexandria, Mrs. van Arsdale leaves no immediate survivors