Retired Army Brig. Gen. Lou. G. Van Wagoner, 73, who became vice president of the Tufty News Bureau in 1960, died of cancer Tuesday at Walter Reed Hospital.

The Tufty News Bureau covers Washington for a group of midwestern newspapers.

Gen. Van Wagoner was a member of the National Press Club and the White House Press Correspondents' Association.

He was born in Oxford, Mich., and began his military career with the Michigan National Guard in 1940. He served as a field artillery officer during World War II, and later as a staff officer in Europe, the Far East, and the Pentagon before retiring in 1960.

Gen. Van Wagoner's awards included the Legion of Merit with the Oak Leaf Cluster. He had been president of the D.C. chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army and had belonged to the Army and Navy Club.

Survivors include his wife, the former Dorothy Russell Manning, of the home in Arlington; two sons, George A., of Livonia, Mich., and John M., of Plymouth, Mich.; a stepson, Navy Cmdr. William C. Query, of Marietta, Ga., a brother, Ray, of Michigan, and 11 grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to Carl Vinson Hall in McLean.