VOA Engineer Anna L. Case Dies

By Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 24, 2005

Anna L. Case, 86, a frequency engineer with a 50-year career in international shortwave radio communication, died Oct. 16 of complications of leukemia at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. She was a resident of Falls Church.

Mrs. Case was chief of the radio frequency division of Voice of America when she retired in 1984. At the time of her retirement, she was one of the highest-ranking female engineers in the federal government.

At VOA, she was part of the original design of the agency's worldwide network of shortwave and medium-wave facilities and helped to modernize the network. She also directed and managed the operation of the network, which consisted of more than 100 transmitters at 14 stations around the world.

After retiring, Mrs. Case used her extensive knowledge of shortwave and medium-wave broadcasting as a consultant for George Jacobs and Associates of Silver Spring until about two years ago.

She was born Anna Long in Vicksburg, Miss., and received an associate's degree from Whitworth College in Spokane, Wash., in 1937. She graduated in 1939 from Louisiana State University, where she was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society.

She began her career working for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture in Baton Rouge and in 1940 moved to Washington. She was in the War Department's code center until she joined the Women's Army Corps in 1943. After training at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., she was commissioned a second lieutenant. She returned to Washington as a supervisor in the Signal Corps' cryptography division.

Following the end of hostilities in the European theater, she joined the Foreign Service and was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in London, where she began her career in shortwave radio communication.

After returning from London in 1948, she met her future husband, and they married in 1950. While living in Smithtown, N.Y., she worked in international communications for VOA and Radio Free Europe in New York City until 1957. She also served the dually important role of minister's wife of the First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown for 12 years, teaching Sunday school and serving as adult adviser to the Westminster Fellowship.

In 1962, Mrs. Case moved back to the Washington area, settling in Falls Church and rejoining VOA. In 1967, she received the U.S. Information Agency award for meritorious service from its director, Edward R. Murrow.

She organized the first international frequency coordination committee of major international broadcasting organizations and participated in International Telecommunications Union conferences. She drafted the United States' position for the World Administrative Radio Conference in Geneva in 1979 and for the Regional Administrative Broadcasting Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1981.

Active in Christian education and Presbyterian women's groups, she was a deacon, an elder and treasurer of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church.

She also was an enthusiastic golfer.

Her husband, Raymond H. Case, died in 1975.

Survivors include two sons, R. Edward Case of Vienna and Louis N. Case II of Raleigh; a brother; and five grandchildren.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company