Edward D. Merrill, 98, a retired president of the old Capital Transit Co. who also was a president of the Washington Board of Trade, died of pneumonia and heart ailments Oct. 28 at the Washington Home.

Mr. Merrill, who lived in Washington, was born in Des Moines. He graduated from Grinnell College and earned an engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

He was a civil engineer for the Union Pacific Railway in the Rocky Mountain states and then began a career in public transportation. He was an official of trolley companies in Seattle, Philadelphia and Chicago before moving here in 1926 as president of the old Washington Rapid Tansit Co., a bus firm.

In 1936, Washington Rapid Transit was merged with Capital Transit and Mr. Merrill became a vice president of the merged venture. He was named president in 1937 and continued to serve in that post until he retired in 1951.

In addition to heading the Washington Board of Trade, Mr. Merrill was a president of the American Transit Association, a vice president and director of the Transit Research Corp., and a member of the Washington Society of Engineers. He also was a councilor of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a director of the Riggs National Bank and a director of the Washington chapter of the American Red Cross.

Mr. Merrill was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Association of the Oldest Inhabitants of the District of Columbia, and the Cosmos, Metropolitan and Rotary clubs.

His wife, Florence Hurst Merrill, died in 1977.

Survivors include a daughter, Florence M. Pilkinton of Washington; two grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.