Ellen Raw Medkeff, 81, of Devon, a teacher at Lower Merion High School for 20 years, died Sunday at Paoli Hospital of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

A native of Akron, Ohio, Mrs. Medkeff earned a bachelor's degree in English and economics from the University of Akron. She then taught at the university, where she met her future husband, Russell J. Medkeff, a World War II Army veteran who was attending college on the GI Bill. She later earned a master's degree in education from Temple University.

She and her husband moved to the Philadelphia area in the late 1950s. In 1968, when her children were older, she joined the staff of Lower Merion High School. She taught English and economics there and for many years chaired the English department. She also directed the school's work-study program for several years and in the summer led school groups to England and Germany. She retired in 1988.

Mrs. Medkeff was active with the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University Women. She served on the summer worship committee and participated in the small-group ministry at Main Line Unitarian Church. She was a volunteer reader for Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.

She enjoyed the theater, Philadelphia Orchestra concerts, and traveling to Europe and Asia with her husband.

In addition to her husband of 57 years, Mrs. Medkeff is survived by a son, John; a daughter, Deborah; and two grandchildren. Another daughter, Julie, died in 1959.

A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Main Line Unitarian Church, 816 S. Valley Forge Rd., Devon.