Virginia M. Switzer, 85, a retired English teacher and guidance director in the Fairfax County schools who had lived in the Washington area since 1957, died of cancer Nov. 21 at her home in Vienna.

She taught at Annandale High School from 1957 to 1961, then served as guidance director at Fairfax High School until retiring in 1978.

Mrs. Switzer, who was born in Hillsboro, Ill., was an English and modern languages graduate of the University of Illinois, where she also received a master's degree in library science.

She taught in Illinois and Arkansas before settling in the Washington area.

She was a member of the Bethany Circle Academic sorority and the Delta Kappa Gamma teaching society and had done volunteer work for charitable groups.

Mrs. Switzer was an Airstream trailer buff, and her hobbies included world travel, including hot-air ballooning in Africa, boating on the Amazon, hiking on China's Great Wall and visiting Antarctica at the age of 78.

Survivors include her husband, retired Army Col. W. Homer Switzer, whom she married in 1940 and who lives in Vienna; a son, Dr. Warren Switzer, a retired Army colonel who lives in Springfield; a daughter, Kathrine Switzer of Vienna; and two grandchildren.