Wesley E. McDonald Sr., 84, a Washington attorney who was active in church, sports and service groups, died of a heart ailment Dec. 2 at Northern Virginia Doctors Hospital.

Mr. McDonald, who lived in Arlington, was an aide on Capitol Hill from 1919 to 1944, when he opened a law practice from which he never formally retired. In Congress, he worked for senators Lee S. Overman, Cameron Morrison and Robert R. Reynolds, all North Carolina Democrats, and for senator Carter Glass, a Virginia Democrat.

In private life, Mr. McDonald was a charter member and former president of the Homeplate Club and the North Carolina Democratic Club. He was a former president of the Arlington Kiwanis Club and the Washington Golf and Country Club and was a vestryman at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

He was born in Culpeper, Va., and raised in Washington. He graduated from the old Business High School and took a law degree at the old Washington College of Law, which is now part of American University.

His first wife, Thelma E. McDonald, died in 1959.

Survivors include his wife, Phyllis M. McDonald of Arlington; two sons by his first marriage, Navy Adm. Wesley L. McDonald of Norfolk, and Theodore M. McDonald of Roswell, Ga.; two children by his second marriage, Mary E. French of Stamford, Conn., and Wesley E. McDonald Jr. of Arlington; a sister, Edna Sydnor of Colonial Beach, Va.; seven grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.