Paul E. Clark, 79, a physical chemist who was a retired editorial services supervisor with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, died of congestive heart failure July 19 at Suburban Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.

Dr. Clark joined the APL in 1949. He was head of its documents library, assistant group supervisor of the technical publications group, and managing editor of the APL Technical Digest before becoming editorial services supervisor. He retired in 1975.

From 1945 to 1958, he was a consultant abstractor with the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstracts publication. He also had been an adjunct chemistry professor at Montgomery College. He was a 1971 recipient of an award of distinction from the Washington chapter of the Society for Technical Communication. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Chemists.

Dr. Clark was a magna cum laude graduate of Muskingum College in his native Ohio. He earned a master's degree and a doctorate in physical chemistry at Ohio State University. Before moving here in 1949, he had worked at Muskingum, where he taught chemistry and was natural sciences division chairman, and at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, where he taught chemistry and was chairman of the chemistry department.

Survivors include his wife, Mildred, and a daughter, Carol Clark, both of Silver Spring, and a son, Kenneth P., of New York City.