Laurence Bearse, 68, naval officer

May 23, 2006

Laurence McKenzie Bearse, former associate dean of the Joint Military Attache School and a retired career naval officer, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma Saturday at his Fallston home. He was 68.

Mr. Bearse was born and raised in Centerville, Mass., and earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 from Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. He earned a master's degree in education in 1960 from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and attended L'Ecole Francaise at Middlebury College.

In 1961, he enlisted in the Navy, and during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, he served as a communications officer aboard the destroyer USS New, which participated in the blockade of the island. He also served in Vietnam and Thailand during the 1960s.

He was assistant naval attache in Paris from 1966 to 1967, headed the Naval Investigative Service in Puerto Rico in the early 1970s, and was defense and naval attache in Antananarivo, Madagascar, from 1976 to 1979 - the year he began training military attaches.

After retiring from the Navy with the rank of commander in 1987, he became associate dean at the Joint Military Attache School at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, retiring in 1999.

Mr. Bearse was an avid flower and vegetable gardener and taught reading to children at Magnolia Elementary School in Harford County.

"He donated his extra vegetables to area food banks," said Linda Graham, his wife of 14 years.

He enjoyed visiting art museums, attending classical music concerts and vacationing on Cape Cod.

Services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

Also surviving are a daughter, Sarah Francoise Bearse of Washington; his parents, Laurence Weston Bearse and Jean McKenzie Bearse of Centerville; a stepson, David Harry of Cornish, Maine; two stepdaughters, Elizabeth A. Waring of Austin, Texas, and Nathalie A. Smith of Forest Hill; a sister, Deborah McLister of North Kingstown, R.I.; and five step-grandchildren. His marriage to the former Renee Michelle Douteau ended in divorce.

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