Dorothy Githens Eley, 81, a former lyric soprano and a resident of Alexandria since 1949, died Sunday in a nursing home in Albuquerque, N.M., following a stroke. Mrs. Eley had divided her time between Alexandria and Albuquerque since 1971, when her husband, retired Army Col. William S. Eley, died.

She was born in Camden, N.J., and grew up in Merchantville, N.J. She made her debut as a singer with the Madrigal Singers of Philadelphia at the age of 16. She sang in New York on the stage and on radio in the late 1920s and 1930s. She gave numerous recitals after her marriage. She also appeared with the German Grand Opera.

Since moving to Alexandria in 1949, she had been active as a member of the Army-Navy Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Colonial Dames of D.C., and the Society of Colonial Wars. She also was a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists, the Pan American Liaison Committee, the American Association of University Women, and the Alexandria Women's Club.

Survivors include two daughters, Mary Jo Harrell, of Albuquerque, and Georgie Day Kovarik, of Springfield, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to a charity of one's choice.