John Burdon Ocheltree, 76, a Foreign Service officer for 23 years before his retirement in 1953, died of cancer Friday at the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home.

Mr. Ocheltree's first overseas assignment was as vice counsul in Hamburg, Germany, in 1931. He subsequently was assigned to Spain, Costa Rica, Curacao, Haiti and Cuba, and the State Department here.

In 1937, he represented this country at the border mediation between Honduras and Nicaragua. He served as consul in Godthab, Greenland, during World War II, and then for four years as first secretary and consul general in Rio de Janeiro. His last foreign assignment was first secretary and consul general in Rome.

Mr. Ocheltree was born in Riverside, Calif. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Nevada in 1925. A Rhodes scholor, he earned a bachelor's degree from Oxford University in England in 1929, and a master's degree from Princeton University in 1931. i

He was active in the Sons of the American Revolution and was a member of the University Club of Washington and Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown.

His first wife, the former Anna Jeannette Stam, died 1952.

Survivors include his wife, the former Frances Peebles Brown of Washington; two daughters, Ann Marsland of Palatine, Ill., and Lorinda Bradford of Kennebunkport, Maine, and five grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Christ Episcopal Church Memorial Fund or the American Cancer Society.