Kenneth Paul Lee, 70, a native of Canton, China, who owned and operated the Flower Drum Restaurant here during the 1970s, died of a heart attack Thursday at Washington Hospital Center.

A Washington area resident for 50 years, Mr. Lee immigrated to the United States when he was 18 years old. Before establishing his restaurant in 1971, he worked in this city's restaurant industry and owned and operated the Sam Lee Laundry here for more than 20 years. The restaurant, which specialized in Chinese cuisine, was sold when he retired in 1978.

Mr. Lee served in the U.S. Army in World War II.

He was active in this city's Chinese-American community and in the Institute of Chinese Culture, which was founded by his friend, the late Cardinal Paul Yu-Pin of Taiwan. He was a former president of the Lee Family Association, which is made up of members of the Lee family in the United States.

Mr. Lee lived in Bethesda and was a member of St. Bartholomew's Catholic Church there.

Survivors include his wife, Linda, a son, John, and two daughters, Edith and Catherine, all of Bethesda; another son, Stephen John, of Aspen Hill, Md.; two other daughters, Theresa Mary Woo of Rockville, and Mary Lee Park of Columbia, Md.; a sister, Chen Wan Yan of Toronto, Canada, and severn grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Heart Association.