Elizabeth Laing White, 77, a longtime resident of the Washington area who was active in community and church organizations, died of cancer Oct. 12 at Fairfax Hospital. She lived in Arlington.

She was an observer, representing Catholic women's groups, at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from 1948 to 1949.

Mrs. White was president of the Richmond Diocesan Council of Catholic Women from 1952 to 1953. She served on the board of the National Council of Catholic Women and received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Pius XII. She was a member of St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Falls Church.

She was vice chairman and then chairman of the Fairfax County Welfare Board from 1952 to 1968 and was a former director of the National Capital Area Community Chest.

Mrs. White was born in Cumberland, Md., and moved to Fairfax County in 1911. She was a graduate of the Notre Dame Academy and earned a bachelor's degree in English and Latin at Trinity College here in 1926. She earned a bachelor's degree in education at the University of Cincinnati.

She was the 1954 recipient of Catholic alumna of the year award from the Archdiocese of Washington.

Survivors include her husband, Sargent White of Arlington; a daughter, Anne Julie White of Horsham, Pa.; a son, John Timothy White of Arlington, and a grandchild.