Marguerite I. Gilmore, 78, retired national field director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau and a member of the D.C. Commission on the Aging, died Aug. 15 at George Washington University Hospital of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Miss Gilmore retired in 1977 after 15 years with the Women's Bureau, and she had been national field director in Washington since 1965. In retirement she had helped organize the citizens advisory council of Iona House, a nonprofit organization serving the elderly of Northwest Washington, and she was coconvener of the Ward Three Inter-ANC Mini Commission on Aging. She was a member of the Private Industry Council where she promoted job opportunities for the elderly.

Born in Detroit, Miss Gilmore graduated from Wheaton College and did graduate work in economic history and labor relations at the University of Chicago. After college she was midwest regional director of the old Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the old Works Projects Administration's education program for unemployed teachers.

Later she was a hearing officer for the War Labor Board in Chicago, metropolitan director of the Chicago YWCA industrial department, and a supervising analyst for the Chicago regional Wage Stabilization Board. She also was assistant regional director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and director of research for the Illinois Governor's Commission for Handicapped Children.

She is survived by a brother, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Edwin B. Gilmore of Fort Walton Beach, Fla.