Cernoria D. Johnson, 81, a retired director of the Washington bureau of the Urban League who had been a member of the White House Conference on Aging and the National Advisory Council on Older Americans in the early 1970s, died of septic shock May 17 at the Brooke Grove nursing home in Olney.

Mrs. Johnson, a resident of Kensington, was born in Muskogee, Okla. She graduated from Langston University in Langston, Okla., and received a master's degree in social work from the Atlanta School of Social Work. She also did graduate study at Columbia University.

Mrs. Johnson began her career with the Urban League in Oklahoma in 1945, and served 13 years as head of its office in Oklahoma City. After studying in New York City, she transferred to Washington about 1960, and was named director of the Washington bureau in 1962. She retired in 1973.

She was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church, the National Social Welfare Assembly, the National Association of Social Workers, the Washington chapter of LINKS Inc., the Washington chapter of Alpha Wives, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

Her husband, William W. Johnson, died in 1984.

Survivors include two daughters, Judith Lewis of Silver Spring and Janice Smith of Adelphi; a brother, Weber McGowan of New York City; and two grandchildren.