William Theodore Rassieur
Rear Admiral, United States Navy
a contemporary press report: May 22, 1993
Rear Admiral William T. Rassieur, who left St. Louis as a teen-ager for a life at sea, died May 14, 1993, at the San Diego Hospice in San Diego, California. He was 93 and had lived in retirement in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
After graduating from Cleveland High School in 1918, he joined the Navy as a radioman for service in World War I. He was among 600 enlisted sailors who took the Navy's test for Annapolis - and among 25 who passed.
Admiral Rassieur graduated in 1923 and got his naval aviator's wings of gold in 1926. His first command was of Patrol Squadron 14 - a job he left to become executive officer of the seaplane tender Curtis, at Pearl Harbor, just in time for the Japanese attack. For the rest of his life, Admiral Rassieur kept as a souvenir a piece from the propeller of the Japanese plane that crashed on the Curtis' deck. He wore two other souvenirs - the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
He was the first commanding officer of Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Maryland, where today the community center bears his name. In 1944, he got his wartime command at sea - the escort carrier Sargent Bay, which took part in the fighting at Saipan, Palau, the Philippines and Iwo Jima.
Admiral Rassieur's postwar career alternated between special duty as a nuclear weapons expert and commands - of the attack carrier Kearsarge, of the Navy's Middle East Force and of the naval air stations in the Hawaiian Islands. Admiral Rassieur retired at Pearl Harbor in 1952 with two-star honors.
In retirement, he painted (seascapes and sailing ships), played the piano (ragtime) and entertained his guests with sleight-of-hand. The admiral enjoyed public speaking and took pride in his brevity.
His first wife, Ruby I. Rassieur, died in 1957. Surviving are his second wife, Iris H. Rassieur; a son, William T. Rassieur Jr. of Austin, Texas; two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The admiral's body has been cremated. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the post chapel at Fort Meyer, Virginiaa, with burial to follow at Arlington National Cemetery - "just 20 or 30 paces from the Eternal Flame," his wife said.
RASSIEUR, RUBY IRENE W/O WILLIAM THEODORE
Photo Courtesy of Russell C. Jacobs, January 2006
Posted: 19 May 1998 Updated: 11 September 2005 Updated: 28 January 2006 Updated: 7 June 2010