Arnold J. Kirch, 79, a retired official of the Agency for International Development, died of an aneurysm April 23 at a hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Mr. Kirch, who was born in Rapid River, Mich., earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Michigan. He moved to Washington in 1939 as an official of the U.S. Retirement Board. In World War II, he worked for the Office of Price Administration.

He then went into the foreign assistance field. From 1947 to 1956, he worked for the World Bank. In 1956, he joined the U.S. foreign aid program and was stationed in Taiwan. In 1961, the year AID was formed, he returned to Washington and worked in AID's Far East bureau until he retired in 1963.

Mr. Kirch lived in Washington until 1967, when he moved to Martinsburg.

Survivors include his wife, Pearl Papin Kirch of Martinsburg; a son, the Rev. Richard Kirch of Chesapeake, Va.; five daughters, Mary Lou Madey of Kent, Ohio, Patricia Sohn of Monterey, Calif., Susan Ryan of Anaheim, Calif., Jane Rocke of San Leandro, Calif., and Sally Smola of Silver Spring; a brother, Roger, of Escanaba, Mich.; two sisters, Agnes Lind of Rapid River, and Helen McCarthy of Escanaba; 15 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.