Rear Admiral Paul Edward Versaw(1937 - 2014)

Rear Admiral Paul Edward Versaw

Paul Edward Versaw, 76, a retired U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral, died peacefully on June 12th after a long illness.

RADM Versaw was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 5th, 1937, and raised by Aline Lucille Brewer Versaw and Malcolm Versaw. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut, in 1961. In 1973 he earned his Juris Doctorate Degree from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. In 1983 he was the first Coast Guardsman to attend the State Department's Executive Seminar in National and International Affairs in Washington D.C.

During his 36-year Coast Guard career, RADM Versaw held numerous assignments including Superintendent of the Coast Guard Academy, Assistant Superintendent, Coast Guard Chief Counsel, Commander of Group San Francisco, Chief of Coast Guard International Affairs, and District Legal Officer for the 13th Coast Guard District in Seattle. His afloat assignments include service on the cutters MACKINAC, ROCKAWAY, UNIMAK, and VENTUROUS. Highlights of his career include his significant contribution to the implementation of federal laws and regulations following the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in 1989 and the Coast Guard response to the Haitian Migrant exodus of 1991. RADM Versaw was a leading member of numerous U.S. delegations that resulted in the reduction of piracy in the Far East. He was also instrumental in establishing foreign Coast Guards in Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia, St Kitts and Grenada.

His military awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals, and three Coast Guard Commendation Medals. He was also awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Catholic University.

Following his retirement in 1997, RADM Versaw and his wife returned to their home on Mercer Island where they enjoyed many friendships playing golf, tennis, and Bridge. He enjoyed being on the over-55 "Rockers" Softball team, winning their senior division one year. An avid gardener and home improvement enthusiast, his backyard was featured on a Mercer Island Arboretum Home Garden tour. He also served on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and the Emerald Heights Advisory Board.

A devoted husband and father, he was heavily involved with activities in his children's lives, volunteering countless hours of time toward coaching his sons' sports teams, scouting and other family activities.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Marjorie Rich Versaw, and three children: Charles B. Versaw (Chantel) of Soldotna, Alaska; David R. Versaw of McLean, Virginia; and LCDR. Greg E. Versaw (Aimee) of Stuttgart, Germany. He is survived by six grandchildren, Caroline, Ashleigh, Avery, Alex, Chase and Max. He is also survived by a brother, Malcolm Versaw, and two sisters, Kathleen Kennedy and Rosalie Blacklock.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 pm on Thursday, June 26th at the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Class of 1961 Fund in New London, Connecticut, or the Salvation Army.

Published in The Seattle Times from June 23 to June 24, 2014