Eugene H. Methvin, 77, a veteran editor and writer in the Washington bureau of Reader’s Digest whose stories included organized crime, civil liberties and international affairs, died Jan. 19 at his home in McLean.

He died of complications related to dementia, said his daughter Helen Methvin Payne.

Mr. Methvin was author of two books, “The Riot Makers: The Technology of Social Demolition” (1970), a study of crowd manipulation; and “The Rise of Radicalism: The Social Psychology of Messianic Extremism” (1973), a study of extremist organizations and individuals.

He began his Washington journalistic career in 1958 as a general assignment reporter with the old Washington Daily News. In 1960, he joined Reader’s Digest, where he remained on the staff until 1996. Mr. Methvin was a contributing editor to the magazine for six more years until retiring in 2002.

In those 42 years, Mr. Methvin contributed more than 100 articles to the magazine. A 1965 article, titled “How the Reds Make a Riot,” won a public service award in magazine journalism given annually by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Eugene Hilburn Methvin was born in Vienna, Ga., where his parents published a weekly newspaper. He graduated in 1955 from the University of Georgia, where he played football. He did postgraduate study at the University of Georgia law school, then served three years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot.

Mr. Methvin was a past president of the Washington chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which in 1995 named him to its hall of fame. He was a member of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean.

His wife of 41 years, Barbara Lester Methvin, died in 2000 after being struck by a car as she crossed the street in front of their home.

Survivors include two daughters, Helen Methvin Payne of Arlington and Claudia Methvin of Edinburg, Va.; and two granddaughters.

— Bart Barnes