Robert E. Reynolds, 74, a retired personnel management specialist in the Navy Department who was active in civic organizations in Arlington, died Tuesday at the Camelot nursing home in Arlington. He had cancer.

Mr. Reynolds, who was born in Plainfield, N.J., and grew up in Allentown, Pa., attended the University of Wisconsin. He moved to Washington in 1935 and began his career with the Navy Department. He was chief of the area wage and classification office when he retired in 1971. He received the Superior Accomplishment Award for his work.

From 1965 to 1967, Mr. Reynolds was on leave from the Navy Department to help set up a merit personnel system for the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

A resident of Arlington since 1936, Mr. Reynolds was a past president of the Arlington Civic Federation and a past chairman of the Citizens Committee for School Improvement and Arlingtonians for a Better County. He also was a member of the Committee of 100.

He was a contributor to Wolf Trap Farm Park, the Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center, where he also was a volunteer.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Fisher Reynolds of Arlington; two daughters, Cynthia Chase of Falls Church, and Valerie Vahouny of Springfield, and 10 grandchildren.