John Blake Lanum, 83, a Foreign Service officer who later became a Washington radio host, died of a stroke Aug. 27 at Mariner Health of Bethesda, a nursing facility. He lived in Rockville.
Mr. Lanum, who went by Blake, spent 30 years with the Foreign Service, much of it with the U.S. Information Agency. He worked for the Voice of America for many years and, in the 1980s, had a weekend show on the old WGAY-AM (1260). He was broadcaster, producer, editor and engineer of his own program, which included news and easy listening music.
He joined the Foreign Service as an officer in 1955. His first assignment was in Thailand as the USIA liaison to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. He later served in New Zealand and the Philippines.
After being based in Washington from 1965 to 1968, Mr. Lanum was a State Department spokesman in Saigon until 1970. He later served in Zambia before returning permanently to Washington in the mid-1970s.
He worked with Voice of America until he retired from the Foreign Service in 1985. He continued as a contract employee with VOA until the early 1990s. Known for his smooth, elegant speaking voice, Mr. Lanum often recited the news for VOA broadcasts.
He was born in Chicago and served as a pilot and flight instructor with the Army Air Forces during World War II. After the war, he helped set up a network of Armed Forces Radio stations at military bases across the country. He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Southern California University.
A longtime resident of Rockville, Mr. Lanum held several positions with the Woodley Gardens Civic Association in Rockville.
His wife of 56 years, Martha Pinson Lanum, died in 2001.
Survivors include two children, Christine Lanum Shaw of Lake Forest, Ill., and Scott Blake Lanum of Rockville; and a granddaughter.