ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A native of Starkville, Mississippi, Bruce Morgan Lancaster graduated from Mississippi State with highest honors and received his Marine Corps commission. He earned his Ph.D. from graduate work at Duke and American Universities. He served in the Pacific theatre and the occupation of Japan as Intelligence and Order-of-Battle Officer. He retired from the Marine Corps Reserve with the rank of Colonel.
His first post as a Foreign Service officer was at the American Embassy, then in the nationalist capital of Nanking, China. Prior to the Communist takeover, General Chaing Kai-Shek moved his headquarters to Canton.
An abbreviated American Embassy whose officers consisted of him and the Minister Counselor moved to Canton to continue U.S. Government ties to the Nationalist foreign office.
As the communist Army drew closer, they moved to war-refugee crowded Hong Kong where they lived aboard the Navy destroyer tender U.S.S. Dixie which was a floating Embassy complete with code room.
They took turns commuting to Canton in a Nave attaché plane. A few hours before the Red Army invaded Canton he turned the keys to the U.S. Embassy building over to the British Ambassador as caretaker. The Communists completed their takeover of mainland China soon after.
Thereafter, he served at Foreign Service posts in Europe and South America. As head of State Department Operations Center he was director of inter-agency teams formed to deal with foreign policy emergencies and held the rank of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
His Foreign Service posts abroad in addition to China included Hamburg, Germany; Consul-in Charge in Medellin, Columbia; Consul General in Stuttgart, Germany; and delegate to the Law of Treaties Congress in Vienna. In 1970 he was seconded to the Imperial Defense College in London as the American Foreign Service Member.
After retirement from the Foreign Service, for 12 years he was a member of the adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University and for one year Emory University in Atlanta.
In retirement he organized a public service group called the Homeowners Task Force which trained delinquent boys in carpentry skills which they devoted to repairing the homes of low-income seniors. For this work he received the Crispus Atticus Award for public service to black seniors.
He was co-founder of Futuros Para Ninos.
He was a member of DACOR, the Foreign Service Association, Phi Kappa Phi honorary science scholarship fraternity, Sigma Chi social fraternity, the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association, and the Episcopal Church.
Mr. Lancaster is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Elinor (neé Bickham of McComb), their son Bruce Lancaster II, two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held with full military honors on October 13, 2011 at 9 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.