Irene Cooperman, 97, a psychologist who retired in 1979 as director of vocational counseling for what is now the Department of Veterans Affairs, died of pneumonia Oct. 21 at her home in Bethesda.

The death was confirmed by her son, Dr. Marc Cooperman.

Irene Gansl was born in Liberty, N.Y. At 11, she won a New York state spelling championship, her family said. She graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934 and received a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University in 1939.

She moved to the Washington area in 1940 and began working for the Veterans Administration that year.

Her husband of 64 years, Dr. Bernard R. Cooperman, died in 2005. Survivors include a son, Dr. Marc Cooperman of Columbus, Ohio; four grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

— Bart Barnes