Jerome Sidney Shoenfeld, 79, a retired editor with the Bureau of National Affairs who helped found what is now The Newspaper Guild in the early 1930s, died Saturday at the Washington Hospital Center. He had cancer.

In addition to his career in journalism, Mr. Shoenfeld was a painter whose work was exhibited at the National Press Club, of which he was a member, and at the Roosevelt Home for Senior Citizens. His paintings also are included in a number of private collections.

Mr. Shoenfeld was born in New York City and attended New York University. He was a reporter on the Journal of Commerce in New York until 1942, when he moved to Washington and joined the information office of the old War Production Board. During his years in New York, he helped found the American Newspaper Guild, now The Newspaper Guild.

After World War II, Mr. Shoenfeld worked for various publications, including Congressional Intelligence, the Business News Service and Sales Management, a trade magazine. He also was a freelance writer. In 1958, he joined the Bureau of National Affairs and was an editor on its Daily Report for Executives until his retirement in 1970.

Thereafter, he devoted himself to painting. He also gave numerous talks to student groups on his years in the Greenwich Village section of New York in the 1920s and 1930s and on his views on aging in the 1970s.

His marriage to the former Rosemary Harris ended in divorce.

Survivors include one daughter, Jane Shoenfeld, of Brooklyn, N.Y., one son, Peter S. Shoenfeld, of Silver Spring, and one granddaughter.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Gray Panthers of Metropolitan Washington, 711 8th St. NW, Washington, D.C.