Erma Brown Cornish, 75, a retired elementary school teacher who was active in church and civic affairs here, died Wednesday at Washington Hospital Center. She suffered from a heart ailment.

She was the wife of Dr. Pinyon L. Cornish, a physician here for many years.

Mrs. Cornish was born in Washington. She graduated from the old Miner Norman School and later earned a bachelor's degree in education from Howard University's School of Education.

She began teaching in 1923 at the old Randall-Cardozo Elementary School. She later taught at Cardozo Bell, Douglass-Simmons, Lovejoy, Phillips and Henry Wilson elementary schools. She retired in 1950.

Mrs Cornish was a former president of the Women's Auxiliary of the Medico-Chirurgical Society here and national president of the Women's Auxiliary of the National Medical Society.

She was active in St. Paul and Augustine Catholic Church, the Sodality Union, the Ladies of Charity, St. Ann's Infant Home, the Mother Seton Guild, the Auxiliary Knights of St. John and the Religious Heritage Society.

She had been a substitute teacher at Sts. Paul and Aagustine Convent. She and her husband had been granted an audience by Pope John XXIII, and she had received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal.

In addition to her husband, of the home in Washington, she is survived by two sons, Pinyon L. Jr. and William H. both of Washington, and three granchildren.