Kathleen E. Topelius, a banking lawyer who became a partner in the Washington office of the Bryan Cave law firm, died Feb. 22 at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. She was 65.

The cause was kidney failure, said her husband, Warren Topelius. She was a Chevy Chase resident.

Mrs. Topelius began her legal career in 1978 in the general counsel’s office of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board in Washington.

She later was associate general counsel of the National Savings and Loan League and, in 1982, joined the law firm of Morgan Lewis and Bockius in Washington, where she became a partner practicing domestic and international banking law. She worked at Bryan Cave from 1993 until retiring in 2008.

Kathleen Marie Ellis was born in Washington, where she was a 1966 graduate of Notre Dame Academy. She was a 1970 graduate of the University of Connecticut and a 1977 graduate of Catholic University’s law school.

She was a past chairman of the Federal Bar Association’s Banking Law Committee. She also served on the board of directors and volunteered as general counsel to Chevy Chase at Home, an organization that helps senior citizens remain in their homes with neighbor support.

Survivors include her husband of 42 years, Warren Topelius, and their son, Matthew Topelius, both of Chevy Chase; a sister; and a brother.

Adam Bernstein