Edward T. McErlean, 76, a lawyer formerly of Media, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease last Thursday at the Hospice of Palm Beach in Florida.

Mr. McErlean maintained a law practice in Media for many years. He never really retired, said his son, Mark, and kept his license current.

A specialist in international law, Mr. McErlean traveled to the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. "He was competent, modest, generous, and gentle," said a friend and client for 40 years, Joseph C. Ripp.

Mr. McErlean graduated from West Philadelphia Catholic High School. He was a member of the Christian Brothers, a Catholic teaching order, from 1950 to 1955. During that time, he earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts and a master's degree in religion from La Salle College. While earning a law degree from Temple University, he taught at Waldron Academy in Merion. He later lectured in law at St. Joseph's University and Harcum College.

Mr. McErlean was active in Democratic politics in Delaware County and was elected a county commissioner in 1967.

In addition to his son, Mr. McErlean is survived by his wife of 40 years, Barbara Casey McErlean; a daughter, Tara Morris; two brothers; two sisters; and five grandchildren.

Friends may call from 5 to 8 tonight at Donohue Funeral Home, 1627 West Chester Pike, West Chester, and after 9 a.m. tomorrow at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 430 Valleybrook Rd., Glen Mills, where a Funeral Mass will be said at 11. Burial will be in the church cemetery.