Richard J. Breyer Jr., 79, of Wyndmoor, a 23-year Army veteran who then had a 21-year career as a civilian administrator for the Navy, died of heart failure Tuesday at his home.

A native of Abington, Mr. Breyer joined the Army at 18. He served at bases in Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Germany, Oklahoma, and Maryland.

In the 1950s, during and after the Korean War, he was an administrative specialist in South Korea, and returned there for tours of duty in the late 1960s and twice in the 1970s. He served in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. A finance and personnel specialist, he also had a knack for foreign languages, his family said, and in 1955 he studied Russian at the Army Language School in California.

Mr. Breyer received several citations and medals, including a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service.

After retiring as a chief warrant officer in 1972, Mr. Breyer earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland. He then worked in finance departments for the Navy in Washington and Philadelphia, and retired in 1993 as budget and fiscal officer for the Naval Aviation Engineering Service Unit in Philadelphia.

In  1980, Mr. Breyer married to Theresa Forestieri Breyer. They met in a club in South Philadelphia. He and his wife enjoyed playing shuffleboard at the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Wyndmoor, where he was treasurer. She died five years ago.

He loved language, was an avid crossword puzzler and reader, and delighted in limericks, his stepdaughter, Sharon Krass, said.

In addition to his stepdaughter, Mr. Breyer is survived by a stepson, John Mascaro; a sister; and four grandchildren.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Queen of Peace Church, 820 North Hills Ave., Ardsley. Friends may call from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at the Jacob F. Ruth Funeral Home, 8413 Germantown Ave. Burial will be Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.