Robert W. Cremins, 61, chief of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad between 1954 and 1964 and a partner in the Annapolis Stamp and Coin Co. since helping to found the firm in 1976, died Feb. 17 at Anne Arundel General Hospital in Annapolis. He had liver and kidney ailments.

He joined the rescue squad in December 1949, and was a life active member at the time of his death. Over the years, he also served on its board of directors and on the Montgomery County Fire Board.

On hearing of his death, Robert Langston, the current president of the rescue squad, said: "Bob Cremins was an original leader in the movement to bring professionalism and first-class status to the ambulance and rescue field."

As long and important as Mr. Cremins' service to the community was, it was not without its rough moments. In 1956, he was dismissed from his job as a D.C. Public Health Department aide in connection with an incident in which an ambulance for which he was responsible was out of service for seven hours.

In 1958, he came under pressure as a result of his failure to appear in court on disorderly conduct charges. He resigned as chief of the rescue squad and spent the next several months in Florida.

He returned to Montgomery County and in 1959 was reelected chief. In an editorial, The Washington Post said this development should "set off alarm bells in the community."

Mr. Cremins, who lived in Annapolis, was born in Washington and reared in Chevy Chase. He attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, the Augusta Military Academy, and George Washington University. He served with the Navy during World War II. He was a former Bethesda tavern owner and was an unsuccessful candidate for Congress in 1956.

He was a member of the American Legion, the Bethesda Moose Club and the Elks.

Survivors include his mother, Genevieve W. Cremins of Chevy Chase; two brothers, James S., of Richmond, and William J., of Sunriver, Ore., and three sisters, Lois C. Sterne of Chevy Chase, Lenore Divver of Bethesda, and Merrill Sullivan of Rockville.