Mildred Leigh Lowe, 72, a retired Northern Virginia teacher and guidance counselor, died Monday in a Salisbury, Md., hospital after a stroke. She had been vacationing on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

She began her teaching career at the old Franklin Sherman High School in McLean in 1928. She was principal of Vienna Elementary School during the 1930s, and then a teacher and guidance counselor at Fairfax High School until the mid-1950s.

Mrs. Lowe became director of guidance counseling at McLean High School at the time that school was founded in 1955. About 1970, she took a similar position at Henry W. Longfellow Intermediate School in Falls Church. She retired in 1972.

Mrs. Lowe was a native of Dinwiddie County, Va., and a graduate of the College of William and Mary. She earned a master's degree in guidance at George Washington University. She worked for a time as a supervisor in the old War Department's chemical warfare program during World War II.

Her marriage to Alfred D. Leigh ended in divorce.

She is survived by her husband, Calvin J., of the home in Vienna; a daughter Joyce Anne Miller, also of Vienna; two sons, Ralph M. (Buddy) Leigh, of Oakton, and Robert A. Leigh, of Greenville, S.C.; three sisters, Annie Jones and Thelma Chandler, of Wilsons, Va., and Naidean Kinsey, of Petersburg, Va.; two brothers, Clyde and Clifton Maitland, of Wilsons, and eight grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Mildred Lowe Memorial Fund at Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church, or to the Craighill Burke Student Aid Scholarship Fund at McLean High School.