Wilfred D. Howell, 77, a retired pension fund official and longtime area resident who was active in church, scouting, and education organizations, died of occlusive coronary arteriosclerosis Sunday at his home in Washington.

He was secretary-treasurer of the National Electrical Benefit Fund, a pension fund, for 25 years before retiring in 1969. Before joining the fund, he had worked for the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Mr. Howell was a native of Canada and came to Washington to attend college. He was a 1928 graduate of Catholic University, where he had boxed, played football, and been captain of the track team. He was inducted into the university's athletic hall of fame in 1978. He was a member of the board of governors of the university's alumni organization.

He had been active in the Catholic Boy Scouts of America and was the recipient of the St. George Award of the Catholic Committee on Scouting. Mr. Howell was a member of Sacred Heart parish and treasurer of the Vaeth Unit, a Catholic organization. He also was a member of the Sherwood Forest Club, a social organization.

Survivors include his wife, the former Patrice Rice, of Washington; four daughters, Sheila Hodges of Gaithersburg, Patrice Roberts of Leonardtown, Karen Ehlerman of Indianapolis, and Regina Gael Howell of Washington; two sons, John D., of Texas, and Damian W., of Indianapolis; five sisters, Sister Rose Evelyn of Long Island, N.Y., and Sister Clare Augusta, Christine Alexander, Bertha Berry, and Josephine Wescott, all of Maine, and 11 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to New Athletic Center of Catholic University or the Boy Scouts of America.