Francis S. Drath, 81, a retired director of legislative affairs for the old Selective Service System who was a colonel in the Army Reserve, died of cancer Jan. 11 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Col. Drath, who lived in Washington, was born in Herndon, Kan. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Nebraska. He was an editorial writer on the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal until 1940, when he was commissioned in the Army Reserve.

He served throughout World War II and at the end of the war was a military governor in part of Bavaria. Returned to civilian life, he joined the faculty of the University of Nebraska, where he taught American literature. He also was deputy state director of Selective Service in Nebraska.

In 1968, Col. Drath moved to Washington to take the legislative affairs post at Selective Service. He continued that work until 1973, when he retired. He also retired from the Army Reserve in that year and was a member of the Retired Officers Association.

His marriage to the former Pauline Campbell ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Viola Herms Drath of Washington; one daughter by his first marriage, Anne B. Lincoln of Denver; two daughters by his second marriage, Constance Drath-Dwyer of Beverly Hills, Calif., and Francesca Drath of Washington; two sisters, Eulalia Goddard and Rose Mayborn, both of Denver, and five grandchildren.