Elizabeth Pohlhaus, a longtime parishioner at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Washington who worked as a scientist and at the Catholic University of America, died on March 29, one day after her 90th birthday.

A native of Madison, N.J., in 1948 she became the first woman to earn a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Seton Hall University after attending night school there. She worked at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, as an organic chemistry lab assistant at a pharmaceutical company, and at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

In 1955, she married J. Francis Pohlhaus, an NAACP lawyer who died in 1981. Her survivors include their children: Mari Pohlhaus of Norfolk; Elizabth Pohlhaus of Hyattsville; Judith Spalding of Rockville; Christopher Pohlhaus of Bowie; and Teresa Thompson of Bowie. Her survivors also include a brother, James Ryan, and six grandchildren.

At St. Francis de Sales, Elizabeth Pohlhaus was a member of the Sodality, tutored children and adults in reading, served as a Eucharistic minister, and distributed food and clothing to those in need. She was a parishioner there from 1957 until her death.

From 1953-55, Elizabeth Pohlhaus served as a volunteer staff member with the St. Peter Claver Catholic Interracial Friendship House in Southwest Washington.

From 1963-65, she worked at Catholic University, copyediting and proofreading the New Catholic Encyclopedia. From 1976-84, she worked as an administrative assistant at Catholic University's Chemistry Department.

"She had a strong Catholic faith and showed that in a practical way throughout her entire life by always being concerned with how she could help others," remembered her daughter, Judith Spalding.

A Memorial Mass for Elizabeth Pohlhaus was held at St. Francis de Sales Church.