Muriel Moran Ardery, 81, a retired Air Force major and Alexandria real estate agent who was active in civic and cultural groups, died of cancer Aug. 27 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. She lived in Alexandria.

Mrs. Ardery, a Maine native who had lived in the Washington area since 1972, also lived here in the late 1940s, early 1950s and late 1960s.

She began her military career in 1943, serving for a time in Europe during World War II and in Germany and Austria in the early days of the occupation. Before retiring as a major in 1951, she also worked in the Pentagon on designs of women's Air Force uniforms and on the integration of black women in the Air Force. She was the recipient of two Air Force Commendation Medals.

Mrs. Ardery, who was a Realtor with Parkway Realty in Arlington from 1980 to 1989, was a past president of the Sherwood Estates Citizens Association in Alexandria and had served as planning and zoning chairwoman of the Mount Vernon Council of Citizens Associations. Other civic posts she held over the years included membership on the board of the Fairfax County Commission on Aging and on the Public Advisory Committee on the Council of Governments.

She had done volunteer work with Friends of the Kennedy Center and in 1995 and 1996 had chaired the volunteer advisory committee on the Kennedy Center. She also was a member of the Women in Military Service Memorial Foundation and the League of Women Voters.

Mrs. Ardery, who was a member of the Reagan presidential transition team, was a member of the Martha Washington Council of Republican Women in Alexandria.

Survivors include her husband, retired Army Col. Edward R. Ardery, whom she married in 1951 and who lives in Alexandria; two sons, Edward P. Ardery of Washington and Richard C. Ardery of Bethesda; three daughters, Ann B. Ardery of Alexandria, Joan Ardery of University Park and Lisa J. Ardery of Atlanta; four brothers; two sisters; and five grandchildren.