DACOSTA VIVIAN MASON, 71, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia since 1974, died of a heart ailment Aug. 4 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Mr. Mason, a resident of Washington, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He came to the Washington area as a young man to attend Howard University, where he also earned a law degree. He did postgraduate study at Catholic University, and was a Devor fellow in the graduate school of public administration at American University.

After graduating from law school, Mr. Mason was in a private law practice here until the mid-1960s when he joined the Neighborhood Legal Services Program. Later he was general counsel to the United Planning Organization before joining the Legal Aid Society.

He was a former president of the Fort Dupont Civic Association and the Far Northeast/Southeast Council of Civic Associations, and a founder and former president of the East of the River Health Association, a nonprofit corporation that provides a range of health services.

Mr. Mason had also been chancellor, vestryman and diocesan convention delegate for the Episcopal Church of the Atonement in Washington, and had served on the Episcopal Diocesan Council and as chairman of the department of finance of the diocese.

Survivors include his wife, Cynthia Rousseau Mason, and one son, Dacosta R. Mason, both of Washington, and one granddaughter.

GAIL-BEVERLY CUMMINS, 52, the founder and former director of Vagabond Puppet People, a children's theater in Arlington, and a past president of the National Capital Puppetry Guild, died of cancer Aug. 11 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

Mrs. Cummins, who lived in Arlington, was born in Richmond. She grew up in the Washington area and graduated from Washington-Lee High School in Arlington. She graduated from Maryville College in Tennessee and earned a master's degree in the art of puppetry from Lindenwood College in Missouri.

She taught art in the Prince George's County public school system before founding Vagabond Puppet People in 1974. She conducted puppetry workshops for children and gave shows at local schools. She retired for health reasons in 1982.

Mrs. Cummins had been a senior warden at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Alexandria, and she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Survivors include her husband, Jerold Cummins of Arlington; one son, Richard Cummins, also of Arlington; three daughters, Dana Burton of Woodbridge, Va., and Sharon and Lora Cummins, both of Arlington; her mother, Sybil Harrison of Arlington, and one granddaughter.

DR. DAVID IRVING BOWIE, 63, a retired dentist who had a private practice in the Washington area for more than 30 years, died of cancer Aug. 10 at the Veterans Administration Hospital. He lived in Chevy Chase.

Dr. Bowie was born in Washington and graduated from Sidwell Friends School. He graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a degree in dentistry from the University of Louisville.

He served in the Army during the early 1950s. He opened his dental practice in about 1955, and retired earlier this year for health reasons.

Survivors include his wife, Mary McWherter Bowie of Chevy Chase; three daughters, Leslie, Marie and Frances Bowie, all of Chevy Chase; one son, Henry Edison Bowie of Kensington, and three grandchildren.

JOHN MANSFIELD ROMBERG, 41, a retired legislative assistant who had worked for former U.S. representative George M. O'Brien (R-Ill.), died of cancer Aug. 11 at Loudoun Memorial Hospital in Leesburg. He lived in Hamilton, Va.

Mr. Romberg was born in Washington and graduated from James Madison High School in Vienna. A graduate of the University of West Florida, he also earned a master's degree in the humanities there. He served in the Navy from 1968 to 1970.

During the 1970s, he worked at the University of West Florida as an admissions counselor. He went to work for O'Brien in 1981, and retired for health reasons last year.

Survivors include his wife, Judith McClellan Romberg, and three children, John Alexander McClellan Romberg, Margaret Elizabeth Romberg, and Heather Sigman, all of Hamilton; two sisters, Alexandra Dorr of Leesburg and Catherine Moomaw of Pensacola, Fla., and two brothers, Henry A. Romberg of Round Hill, Va., and James Nicholas Romberg of Bagdad, Fla.