The Rev. Dr. Robert Capers Fletcher, 87, the retired pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church for the Deaf in Birmingham, and the founder of many other congregations for the deaf, died March 3 at Alexandria Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Alexandria.

In 1929 Dr. Fletcher, who became deaf at the age of 4, began his work in the Episcopal ministry in Birmingham. Over the next 47 years, he organized more than 40 congregations for deaf worshipers in the southeastern United States.

He was named pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church for the Deaf in 1931 and retired in 1976. He moved to the Washington area in 1981.

Dr. Fletcher was born in Arab, Ala. He graduated from the Alabama School for the Deaf and from Gallaudet University. He then received a bachelor of divinity degree from the Philadelphia Episcopal Seminary. Gallaudet awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1957.

Dr. Fletcher was a member of Holy Trinity Ministry of the Deaf in Springfield.

Survivors include his wife, Estelle Caldwell Fletcher, of Alexandria; one son, Dr. John C. Fletcher of Charlottesville; three daughters, Roberta Ray of Gloucester, Va., Georgianna Fletcher of Alexandria, and Louise Fletcher, the actress who won an Oscar award in 1976 for her role as Nurse Ratched in the film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," of Los Angeles; one sister, Vida Fletcher Phillips of Shelbyville, Tenn., and 11 grandchildren.