Captain William J. (Bill) Weisensee, USN, (RET.) passed away on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018, at the age of 85, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Bill is predeceased by his parents, Helen and William Weisensee; his brother, Frank Weisensee; his sister, Estelle; and his son, Gary Weisensee.
Bill is survived by his loving wife Nancy of 38 years. Also surviving are Bill’s brother Richard; five children, including William, Kevin, Tom, Cindy and Matt; and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Bill had an immense love for his family. Bill’s hobbies included golf, camping, boating, traveling and attending submarine veteran reunions throughout the US. He was an avid fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and NASCAR. He was influential in the establishment of the St. Mary’s Submarine Museum and contributed much of his memorabilia to the museum.
Bill was born in Brighton, Mass. After graduating from Lexington High School, Bill enlisted in the United States Navy in January 1952 and advanced through the enlisted ranks to the grade of chief electronics technician in the Submarine Nuclear Power Program. In July 1962, he was commissioned as an ensign in the Limited Duty Officer (LDO) Program.
In February 1985, Bill was one of the first LDOs promoted to the rank of captain. Capt. Weisensee graduated from Southern Illinois University and earned three master’s degrees throughout the course of his career.
Capt. Weisensee's sea duty included tours on USS Thuban (AKA 19), USS Amberjack (SS 522), USS Sabalo (SS 302), USS Tullibee (SSN 597), USS Cusk (SS 348), USS Nereus (AS 17), commanding officer of Shippingport (ARDM 4) and executive officer of USS Fulton (AS-11) from January 1984 to July 1986.
Other tours included commissioning SIC Nuclear Prototype at Windsor; electronics material officer, Submarine Squadron Ten; director of operations advanced training at Naval Submarine School, Groton; assistant repair officer for Extended Refit Program at Charleston Naval Shipyard; and security officer, Naval Submarine Base, New London. In September 1986, Captain Weisensee assumed duties as executive officer of Naval Submarine School and as the commanding officer in April 1989. After graduation from the Naval War College in 1990, Capt. Weisensee reported as commanding officer of Trident Refit Facility, Kings Bay. He completed this tour in April 1993 and retired with more than 41 years of active duty on June 30, 1993.
Capt. Weisensee has been awarded the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars, Navy Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star, Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon with Bronze Star, Enlisted Good Conduct Medal with two Bronze Stars, Navy Expeditionary Medal, Navy E Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, Korean Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with Bronze Star, United Nations Service Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with Service Star. Capt. Weisensee qualified in submarines enlisted (silver dolphins) in May 1955 and officer (gold dolphins) in January 1967.
Shortly after retirement from the Navy, Bill became the executive director of the Camden County/Kings Bay Chamber of Commerce and Joint Development Authority. He retired from this position in November 2001 but remained active in the local community of Camden County, particularly with the St. Marys Submarine Museum and the Naval Submarine League.
The family wishes to thank all of those who cared for Bill during his last few months, especially the compassionate professionals at Mystic Healthcare & Rehabilitation and Hospice at Vitas Healthcare. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, or the St. Marys Submarine Museum in St. Marys.
Bill’s wake was held from 4 to 6 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Byles Memorial Home in Groton. Funeral services, with military honors, were held at 11 a.m. Aug. 21 at St. Luke’s Church in Gales Ferry.