Clare Erly Wootten, 77, a Montgomery County real estate agent and former journalist who had been active in Democratic Party organizations, died of a heart ailment Dec. 3 at the Washington Hospital Center. She lived in Silver Spring.

She served on the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners for 15 years before retiring in 1982.

Mrs. Wootten was born in Washington. She graduated from Holy Cross Academy and attended George Washington University. She was a reporter with The Washington Post in the mid-1920s. Between 1928 and 1930, she accompanied her husband, Charles T. Wootten, a Navy officer who retired as a lieutenant, to posts in this country and overseas. During those years, she worked for the North China Daily News, the Manila Bulletin and the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram.

She then returned to the Washington area and raised a family. In the 1950s, she published "The Prince George's Business Directory." She later established "Welcome Baby," a business that distributed manufacturers' samples to new mothers in Montgomery County. She began her real estate career in the mid-1970s and was affiliated with the Page-Loten Co. of Silver Spring at the time of her death.

Mrs. Wootten became active in the Democratic Party in Montgomery County in 1960. She was a precinct chairman and a founder of the Eastern Montgomery County Democratic Club. She was the recipient of the outstanding precinct coordinator and outstanding achievement awards, both given by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

She was a member of the Catholic Daughters of America and the Rossmoor Woman's Club.

Her husband died in 1978. Survivors include two sons, Angus E., of Jamestown, N.Y., and Morgan, of Hyattsville; two daughters, Clare W. Crawford-Mason of Washington and Helen Lee Wootten of Beltsville; two brothers, retired Navy Rear Adm. Robert B. Erly of Coronado, Calif., and John K. Erly of Scotland, Md.; 15 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.