Kathryn McGrant English, 61, a retired legal publication specialist with the Federal Register who was active in service organizations, died of cancer May 22 at her home in Washington.

Mrs. English, who was born in Charlotte, N.C., earned an associate degree at Barber Scotia College, a bachelor's degree at Johnson C. Smith University and a master's degree in history at Temple University.

She moved to Washington in 1944 and went to work at the Navy Department as a file clerk. Except for one brief period, she remained there until 1965, when she joined the National Archives. She later transferred to the Federal Register, which is part of the Archives, and remained there until her retirement in 1980.

Mrs. English was a director and a recording secretary of the Johnson C. Smith Alumni Association, a director of the Southeast (D.C.) Unit of the American Cancer Society and a member of the Business & Professional Women's Club, the Woman's National Democratic Club and the Pilgrim A.M.E. Church.

Survivors include her husband, John B. English, of Washington; two daughters, Michelle, of Boston, Mass., and Kathleen Lightfoot, a Navy petty officer stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; three sons, John B. Jr., Ronald L., and Barry E., all of Washington; his mother, Domena McGrant, of Philadelphia, and seven grandchildren.