Minot Coolidge Mulligan, 72, a former government official and retired railroad executive who had lived here since 1932, died at Sibley Memorial Hospital Saturday after a stroke. He lived in Bethesda.

Mr. Mulligan joined the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1962 as assistant to the vice-president for finance. Two years later, he was named assistant vice-president of both the Baltimore & Ohio and Chesapeake & Ohio railways. He retired from the merged companies in 1972 as president of the Washington Terminal Company, which operated Union Station.

From 1946 and 1961, he was an official of the Civil Aeronautics Board. He joined the agency as its secretary-comptroller. From 1958 to 1961, he was director of its bureau of air operations.

Mr. Mulligan was born in Grand Junction, Colo., and reared in Boston, Mass. He attended the University of London in the late 1920s. He joined the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932 and for a time was chairman of its War Assets Corporation.

He served in the Army Air Forces' Air Transport Command in both the European and China-Burma-India theaters during World War II. He earned two Bronze Star Medals and attained the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Survivors include his wife, the former Mary Christian of Bethesda; a son, Ralph of Chevy Chase; two daughters, Mellinda Bishop of Portland, Me., and Mary Minot Mulligan of West Concord, Mass.; his stepmother, Mrs. Ralph Mulligan, and a half-sister, Patricia Briska, both of Gulf Breeze, Fla., and three grandchildren.