Dr. Robert E. Henze, 59, the director of the membership division of the American Chemical Society and an amateur photographer and welder of metal ornaments, died of cancer Saturday at his home in Silver Spring.

Dr. Henze, who was born in Detroit, Mich., earned a bachelor's degree at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. During World War II, he was engaged in research on rocket propellants for the Monsanto Company in Dayton, Ohio. In 1951, he earned a doctorate in chemistry at Purdue University and taught there until 1958, when he moved to Washington and joined the staff of the ACS.

He was director of the society's educational activities and of its petroleum research fund grants program before becoming director of the membership division.

In addition to being a member of the ACS, Dr. Henze was a member and past president of the Scientific Manpower Commission and a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

As an amateur photographer, he was a member of the Latent Image Workshop and won a number of awards for his still-life studies in black and white. As a welder, he produced ornaments from scrap metal and other materials.

Dr. Henze was a member of the Calvary Lutheran Church in Silver Spring and took part in many of its service programs.

Survivors include his wife, Joan, of Silver Spring; one son, James E. of Washington; two daughters, Janet H. Bowman of Frostburg, Md., and Patricia H. Ford of Mundelein, Ill.; his mother, Margaret McGrath, of Walnut Creek, Calif., two brothers, Carl, of El Toro, Calif., and Thomas, of Danville, Calif.; one sister, Margaret Murry, of Yuba City, Calif., and three grandsons.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society, or to a charity of one's choice.