WASHINGTON (AP) _ Fletcher F. Acord, the third ranking official in the U.S. Postal Service, died Sunday of a cerebral hemorrhage, a Postal Service spokesman said. He was 56.

Acord, a resident of Vienna, Va., had been associate postmaster general since the position was established in March 1986, spokesman James Van Loozen said. Acord was responsible for a variety of central management areas, including human resources, marketing, communications, and research and technology development.

Acord began his 35-year postal career in 1952 as a clerk in Southern California. He became a postal inspector in 1960 and held managerial positions in Washington, Newark, N.J., Salt Lake City and Chicago, where he was regional postmaster for a 13-state area.

In 1984, Acord received the postmaster general's award for professional excellence.

Acord was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, serving as state president of the Mormon Church in Arizona and New Jersey and as a bishop in Arizona.

He served as a counterintelligence officer in the U.S. Army and was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Virginia.

He is survived by his wife, Flora Lee Acord, three daughters, one son, two sisters, a brother and his mother. Services are planned Tuesday in Oakton, Va., and Friday in Provo, Utah.