Muriel Paulina Leighton Worth, 70, a retired government writer and public relations official, died Dec. 27 at Arlington Hospital after a heart attack. She lived in Falls Church.

Mrs. Worth worked for the War Shipping Administration during World War II. and later for the U.S. Maritime Commission. From the late 1950s to the late 1960s, she worked for the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. Her last post was in the office of the secretary of Defense, where she retired in 1975.

She was a member of the Westover Baptist Church in Arlington and the Catherine Montgomery chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Mrs. Worth was born in Twin Falls, Idaho, and attended Santa Monica Junior College in California. After moving here in 1939, she became a staff assistant to the then senator John Thomas (R-Idaho).

Her marriage to John Worth ended in divorce.

Survivors include two daughters, Patricia Jean Scott Weidman of Huntingtown, Md., and Catharine Marie Worth of Washington; a son, John Leighton Worth of Leesburg; three brothers, Ralph, of San Raphael, Calif.; James, of Portland, Ore., and Paul, of Thiensville, Wis.; two sisters, Carrie Lake and Hazel Allenbach, both of Sacramento, Calif.; two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.