Rollee Efros, 80, who was a specialist in appropriations law during her legal career with several federal and local governmental agencies, died Nov. 14 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington in Rockville from the effects of a stroke. She lived in Bethesda.
Mrs. Efros, who moved to Washington in 1952, joined the D.C. Juvenile Court as a legal consultant in 1961. She became a senior mental health planner and legal consultant with the D.C. Department of Public Health in 1963 and was instrumental in developing a citywide mental health program.
In 1964, she took a position with the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare and established the Legislative Legal Service Branch, which handled legal, regulatory and legislative matters. In the late 1960s, she became legal counsel to the National Institute of Mental Health.
She represented the United States at an international conference in Geneva in 1971 on developing mental health programs in underdeveloped countries.
Mrs. Efros joined the old General Accounting Office in 1973 as a senior attorney and was quickly named assistant general counsel. Later promoted to associate general counsel, she was the highest-ranking woman at the GAO.
She responded to congressional inquiries about federal spending authority, the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and other matters. She wrote legal opinions that clarified the limits of federal spending for health services, environmental protection and military procurement.
In 1982, she was the principal author of the GAO's four-volume "Principles of Federal Appropriations Law." Known as the Red Book, it addressed legal issues concerning the expenditure of federal funds. She often spoke to groups on appropriations law. She retired in 1989.
Mrs. Efros was born in New York City and graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. She graduated from Columbia University's law school in 1948, one of only four women in her class.
She lived in the District before moving to Bethesda in 1960 and was a member of Temple Sinai in Washington. She wrote poetry and loved to do crossword puzzles, acrostics and other word games.
Her marriage to Robert Lowenstein ended in divorce.
A daughter, Carol Lowenstein, died in 1973.
Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Seymour Efros of Bethesda; four children from her first marriage, Susan Barry of Seattle, Elizabeth Lowenstein of Palo Alto, Calif., Linda Lowenstein of Centreville and Dr. Steven Lowenstein of Denver; a brother; and seven grandchildren.