Leola Cecelia Tolson, 56, a retired system analyst with the National Security Agency, died of a stroke Thursday at her home in Washington.

A native of Washington, Mrs. Tolson was a graduate of Armstrong High School here. She began her government career in the early 1950s and retired in 1974.

She also was active in church, civic and service organizations. She was the president of the parish council of St. Martin's Catholic Church in Washington from 1977 and 1978; a delegate to the Council of Women of the Washington Archdiocese; a delegate to the Secretariat of Black Catholics, and a member of the board of directors of the committee on aging of the Association Catholic Charities.

Mrs. Tolson was a member of the Friendly Visitors of Family and Child Services in Washington, a president of the John Glenn Bowling League in Bethesda, and a block captain of the North Michigan Park Civic Association.

Survivors include her husband, Joseph R., of the home in Washington; two sons, Gerald A., of Columbia, and Michael J., of Hyattsville; three daughters, Joyce Jones, of Mariett, Ga., Beverly Harper, of Hillcrest Height and Marlene Dowell, of Washington; her mother, Agnes Brown, of the home; two brothers, William and Carl Toomer, both of Washington, and 14 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the building fund of St. Martin's Church, 1908 North Capitol St., Washington.