John Edward Linstrom, 63, who retired from the Interstate Commerce Commission after 20 years as a government lawyer, died of heart failure Wednesday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He had suffered from a liver ailment.

Mr. Linstrom was reared in Omaha, Neb. and graduated from Creighton University there. After World War II service in the 11th Airborne Division in the Pacific, he returned to Creighton and earned a law degree in 1947.

He moved to the Washington area in the late 1940s and began as a lawyer with the U.S. Postal Service. He also earned a master's degree in law from Catholic University. He joined the ICC in 1959 as a trial lawyer and retired in 1970 because of a physical disability.

Mr. Linstrom remained in the Army Reserves after the war. He retired in 1967 as a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.

He was a member of St. Hugh's Catholic Church in Greenbelt and of the Holy Name Society. He also was a member of American Legion Post No. 136 in Greenbelt.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Marcilliat Linstrom, of the home in Greenbelt; five daughters, Mary G. Jordan, of Roverdale, Katherine Ann, of Phoenixville, Pa., Nora Jean, of Spokane, Wash., Joan Clare, of Greenbelt, and Mary Elizabeth, of the home; four sons, John Edward Jr., of Lexington, Ky., Christopher James and David John, both of the home, Gerard Michael, of College Park; a sister, Margaret Stevens, of Omaha; three brothers, William and Elmer, both of Omaha, and Harold M., of Hammonton, N.J., and one grandchild.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Little Sisters of the Poor Building Program, 220 H St. NE, Washington, 20002.