John G. Mosher
Special Olympics official

John G. Mosher, 77, a retired director of international programs for Special Olympics International, died Sept. 27 of asphyxiation caused by choking on food at his home in Arlington County.

The death was confirmed by his wife, Diane Lewis.

Mr. Mosher spent much of his career as a skiing instructor in St. Gilgen, Austria, before relocating to Arlington in 1983. He was the U.S. Information Agency’s director of overseas cultural and policy programs from 1983 to 1988 and served four of those years on the executive board of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

In 1988, he was appointed director of international programs for Special Olympics International. He advocated the international expansion of Olympic programs on-site in countries such as Brazil, Austria, Latvia and the Ivory Coast, said his wife, Diane. He retired in 1992.

In retirement, he continued to write extensively and contributed editorial pieces to a newspaper in Guadalajara, Mexico.

John Gouverneur Mosher was a Philadelphia native and a 1956 classics graduate of Princeton University. He then joined the Navy and was stationed in Japan until 1959.

Five years later, he published “Kyoto: A Contemplative Guide,” a comprehensive guidebook to the city written under the name Gouverneur Mosher. The Washington Post once called it the “definitive book for the serious traveler,” and the book went into its 14th printing in 1992.

He was an expert on Japanese postage stamps and wrote 22 articles on this subject. He was also a founding board member of PostClassical Ensemble, an experimental musical laboratory in the Washington.

His first marriage, to Nadeshiko Yamaguchi, ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 27 years, Diane Lewis.

— Megan McDonough