Jack H. Shellenberger, a retired senior U.S. Information Agency foreign service officer who served as director of programs at the Voice of America and as dean of area studies at the Foreign Service Institute, died Oct. 24 at his home in Great Falls after a stroke. He was 77.
During his diplomatic career, from 1955 to 1991, Mr. Shellenberger served in Asia, Africa, Canada and Europe, including tours as counselor of public affairs at U.S. embassies in Tehran, Ottawa, Tokyo and Lagos, Nigeria. As a junior officer, he had served as director of the American cultural center in Nagoya, Japan, as a branch public affairs officer in Moulmein, Burma, and as an information officer and counselor at the U.S. mission to the European communities in Brussels.
At the Voice of America, Mr. Shellenberger served first as a regional editor for Europe in the Worldwide English Division from 1962 to 1964. There, he edited a news and current affairs broadcast, "Report to Europe."
He returned to the VOA in 1974 as chief of policy and that same year was promoted to director of programs at the international network. He directed the VOA's programming during the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam and the final months of the Watergate crisis.
A scholar and writer, he earned a master's degree in international public policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy, where he studied from 1964 to 1965. He was appointed dean at the School of Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington in 1988 and supervised more than 40 area studies courses on politics, government, economics, culture and U.S. diplomacy in eight world regions.
In 1977, Mr. Shellenberger was assigned as counselor and country public affairs officer in Tehran, where he served until July 1979, a few months after the fall of the shah of Iran. A month later, he was assigned as public affairs officer in Ottawa, where he served for four years. During those years, he was the USIA White House liaison and coordinator for the Ottawa, Williamsburg and Versailles, France, G-7 economic summit meetings.
In 1983, Mr. Shellenberger was assigned to Japan, where he became counselor of embassy for public affairs and director of the U.S. Information Service's Japan office.
After retiring in 1991, Mr. Shellenberger became director of the Japan-America Student Conference in Washington. During his tenure, hundreds of Japanese and U.S. students participated in summertime academic exchanges aimed at increasing understanding between the younger generations of both countries. He retired again in 2003.
He was born John Horace Shellenberger in Amsterdam, N.Y., and grew up in Yonkers, N.Y., and Los Angeles. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., in 1952.
Described once as the "consummate professional who can do it all," Mr. Shellenberger received the President's Meritorious Service Award from the USIA in 1984. He and the USIS Japan staff received USIA's Superior Honor Award for their role in the Tokyo economic summit of 1986.
For years, Mr. Shellenberger performed with the Great Falls Players and in theaters in Canada.
His marriage to Jill Shellenberger ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Soodabeh Azar Shellenberger of Great Falls; two daughters from his first marriage, Katie Schwieger of Purcellville and Karen Oliver of Capistrano Beach, Calif.; a stepson, Karan Lotfi of Washington; a stepdaughter, Sara Berenji of Indianapolis; a brother; and six grandchildren.