John D. Marsh, 80, a retired Washington insurance executive who also bred horses in Northern Virginia, died of gastrointestinal bleeding Sept. 11 at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va. He had suffered from cancer.

Mr. Marsh founded the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co. of America in Washington in 1955. He operated it until 1965, when he resigned to become president of Aetna Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co., a division of Aetna Life. He remained in the Washington area while working at Aetna.

Since his retirement from the insurance business in 1971, Mr. Marsh had been a full-time horse breeder, initially at his farm in Gainesville and more recently at a farm at Boyce, Va., where he was living at the time of his death.

He was named Horseman of the Year by the National Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association in 1985, and he served on the board of directors of The Breeders' Cup and on the Virginia Horse Council. He was president of Virginians for Racing in Virginia, an organization that lobbied for the legalization of parimutuel betting at Virginia race tracks.

The horse Majesty's Prince, which won several racing purses between 1982 and 1984, was bred on Mr. Marsh's farm.

Mr. Marsh was born in Atlanta and moved to Washington when he was 9. He graduated from the old Devitt Preparatory School and attended George Washington University.

From 1929 until World War II he was an insurance agent in Washington. During the war he served in the Army Air Forces.

After the war he organized J.D. Marsh and Associates, an organization that specialized in estate and financial planning.

Mr. Marsh was a member of the board of directors of the American Life Insurance Co. of New York. He was active in several Republican Party organizations in Virginia and a member of the Virginia State Council for Higher Education.

Survivors include his wife, Hazel Marsh of Boyce; three daughters, Stephanie M. Cherubin of New York City, Lenora M. Bearer of Tulsa, and Valic Marsh of Connecticut; one son, John D. Marsh II of Albuquerque, and eight grandchildren.

J. WILSON LEVERTON JR., 78, a retired Navy rear admiral who had held a number of high staff positions in Washington and elsewhere, died Sept. 6 at a hospital in Whispering Pines, N.C., after a stroke.

Adm. Leverton was born in Baltimore and grew up in Washington. He graduated from Central High School here and was a resident of the city until 1966, when he moved to North Carolina.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1931. During World War II, he commanded the destroyer Wasmuth in the Pacific. His assignments after the war included command of Destroyer Flotilla 1 in the Western Pacific and a tour as assistant director of the strategic plans division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In 1963, Adm. Leverton was named deputy chief of staff to the commander in chief of the Atlantic Fleet. He retired from the Navy for health reasons in 1964.

He taught at the Holton-Arms School before moving to Whispering Pines in 1966.

His military decorations include two Legion of Merit medals, the Bronze Star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Helen Bell of Whispering Pines; four daughters, Joan Covell of Italy, Joyce Mauney of Atlanta, Kim Maher of Boca Raton, Fla., and Deborah Willis of Raleigh, N.C.; two brothers, and seven grandchildren.

LUDWIG ADNEY SMITH, 53, a vice president of the Roberts Oxygen Co., suppliers of industrial gases and medical supplies, and a member of the Montgomery County Health Services Planning Board, died of cancer Sept. 10 at Holy Cross Hospital.

Mr. Smith, a Rockville resident, was a volunteer with the Montgomery County Association for Retarded Citizens and a member of the Men's Guild at Holy Cross Hospital. He also was a member of Mensa, an organization for persons with high IQs.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., he grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He graduated from the University of Kansas. After service in the Navy in the late 1950s, he made a career in the industrial gas and health supply business. He worked in Allentown, Pa., Cleveland and Houston before moving here in 1975 and joining the Roberts Oxygen Co.

Mr. Smith's survivors include his wife, Barbara Toohey Smith of Rockville; three children, Ludwig Adney Smith III and Helen Louise Smith, both of Rockville, and Laura Farrell Smith of Atlanta; his mother, Louise Roberts Smith of Bethesda, and two sisters, Frances Dede Newbery of Charlotte, N.C., and Margaret Louise Seay of Zug, Switzerland.

MAX FELDMAN, 74, a retired officer of I. Feldman & Co., wholesale food distributors in Washington, died Sept. 1 at St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee following heart surgery. He had gone to Milwaukee for medical treatment.

Mr. Feldman was born in Washington and graduated from Central High School. He attended the old National Law School and served in the Navy during World War II.

For about 35 years before he retired in 1977 he worked at I. Feldman & Co., a family business, and he had served as a vice president and treasurer of the company.

He was a former member of Temple Israel Congregation in Silver Spring.

A former resident of Takoma Park, Mr. Feldman moved to Tamarac, Fla., upon his retirement.

Survivors include his wife, Grace Kerness Feldman of Tamarac; two daughters, Marjorie Springer of Middletown, N.J., and Joan Saidel of Silver Spring; four sisters, Sylvia Levin of Silver Spring, Bertha Spector of Long Beach, N.Y., Tessie Lyon of North Lauderdale, Fla., and Dorothy Jacobs of Delray Beach, Fla.; two brothers, Fred Feldman of Silver Spring and Frank Feldman of Kensington, and four grandchildren.

MARGARET LOUISE TODD, 75, a resident of the Washington area since 1947 who was active in church and service organizations, died Sept. 10 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia of complications following a stroke.

Mrs. Todd, a resident of Arlington, was born in Harlan, Iowa. She graduated from Iowa State University and earned a master's degree in institutional management at the school. As a young woman, she was a teacher in Iowa and Charlottesville.

In the early 1960s, she was a secretary at St. John's Episcopal Church in Arlington.

Mrs. Todd was a member of St. John's and earlier she had been a member of St. Mary's Episcopal Church. She was a volunteer with the American Cancer Society and the American Red Cross.

Survivors include her husband, Dr. Frank A. Todd of Arlington; two children, Thomas C. Todd of Brattleboro, Vt., and Cynthia Todd of Arlington; a sister, Jane Alice Wissler of Abilene, Tex., and two grandchildren.

CLINTON O. WARD, 92, a retired general contractor who was also an antique dealer and an artist, died of cardiac arrest Sept. 1 at his home in Washington.

Mr. Ward was born in Washington and graduated from McKinley Technical High School. He had studied at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, where he won a medal for his still life paintings.

He began working in his father's general contracting firm as a teen-ager and retired about 1940. In later years, he operated a series of antique shops in Georgetown. He retired for the second time in 1965.

Mr. Ward was a member of the Arts Club.

His wife, the former Valerie D. French, died in 1986. Survivors include two daughters, Valerie W. Thompkins of Washington and Charlotte W. McNutt of Lake Panasoffkee, Fla.; eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

HELEN SAGE PLATT, 73, a longtime Washington area resident who was active in community and church organizations, died of cancer Sept. 10 at her home in Chevy Chase.

Mrs. Platt was born in Rochester, N.Y. She graduated from Vassar College. She moved to the Washington area in the early 1940s.

She was a member of the Junior League of Washington, the Chevy Chase Club, the Chevy Chase Garden Club and All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, where she was active in the Women's Guild. She also had been a volunteer with the American Red Cross.

Survivors include her husband of 48 years, James B. Platt Jr. of Chevy Chase; two sons, Dwight S. and James B. Platt III, both of Baltimore, and four grandchildren.