Lula A. Farmer, 55, who worked closely with her husband, James Farmer, when he was director of the Congress if Racial Equality (CORE), died of Hodgkins disease Sunday at George Washington University Hospital.

Born in Macomb, III., Mrs. Farmer was a graduate of Northwestern University, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. While in college she was active in CORE, of which her husband was a founder, and they met through the organization.

Mrs. Farmer moved to New York City in the late 1940s, and was married there in 1949. From then in the 1950s, she worked for Consumers Union and was program budget director for the Institute of International Education.

When Farmer was named director of CORE in 1961, Mrs. Farmer served as comptroller of the organization in the early 1960s.

The Farmers came to Washington in 1969, when he was appointed assistant secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He now is executive director of the Coalition of American Public Employees.

After moving here, Mrs. Farmer was active in the Women's Strike for Peace and was on the board of the Child Health Center of Children's Hopital.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Tami Lynn and Abbey Lee, all of the home in Washington.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy may be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.