Dr. Eileen A. Blackey, 77, a retired government social worker and college dean who was a former resident of Northern Virginia, died of cancer Sept. 18 in a Pinehurst, N.C., hospital.

Dr. Blackey came to Washington in 1949 as staff development director of the Veterans Administration's Social Service Division. She also spent a year as a staff director with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's Bureau of Public Welfare in the mid-1950s.

In 1957 she went to Israel and began a five-year project organizing the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She served as the school's first dean.

In a 1963 interview with a Post reporter, Dr. Blackey said that Israel faced "major problems in the reception and absorption of the tremendous number of immigrants, and an economy that is changing from an agricultural to an industrial one."

Dr. Blackey said the industrialization of Israel "gives rise to the problems America developed when that happened -- adult crime, juvenile delinquency and vocational rehabilitation."

Ambassador of Israel Avraham Harman hailed Dr. Blackey, at a 1963 reception held in her honor, for playing a "decisive role in the social welfare of Israel."

From 1963 until retiring five years later, Dr. Blackey was dean of the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Los Angeles. During those years she also participated in the founding of social work schools in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.

A resident of Arlington during the 1950s, she returned to this area in 1969 and lived in Fairfax until moving to Southern Pines, N.C., in December 1978.

Dr. Blackey was born in Blackpool, England, and reared in Wisconsin and Iowa. She earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin, a master's degree in social work at Smith College in 1930, and a doctoral degree at Western Reserve University.

She did social work in Rochester, N.Y., directed staff development for the old Federal Emergency Relief Administration in West Virginia and then worked for the state welfare department in Florida before the end of World War II.

Prior to joining the Veterans Administration, Dr. Blackey spent four years with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in Germany where she helped direct child search and repatriation activities.

Dr. Blackey had been an active supporter of Common Cause and while living in Northern Virginia had worked in Democratic Party organizations and compaigned for Rep. Joseph L. Fisher (D.-Va.).

Dr. Blackey leaves no immediate survivors. CAPTION: