Ethel Jones Roberts, 71, a Charles County, Md., elementary school teacher for 46 years who was active in church and civic organizations, died of cancer Sunday in Physicians Memorial Hospital in La Plata.

Mrs. Roberts was a native of Hughesville. She was a graduate of the old Towson Normal School and earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at the University of Maryland.

She began her teaching career at the old Hughesville Consolidated School in 1927, transferring to T. C. Martin elementary in the early 1960s. sShe taught third grade during her entire career before retiring in 1973.

Mrs. Roberts was a member of Oldfields Episcopal Church in Hughesville where she was active in volunteer work, was treasurer, and had been a member of the altar guild.

She also had been a representative to the area Agency on Aging in Charles County.

Her husband, James D. S. Roberts Jr., died in 1970.

Mrs. Roberts' survivors include two sons, James C., of White Plains, Md., and David S., of Ijamsville, Md.; three brothers, E. Elwood Jones of Hughesville, Chester A. Jones of Crofton, and George H. Jones of Beltsville, and seven grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Ethel J. Roberts Memorial Fund for Oldfields' Sunday School and the T. C. Martin Elementary School library.