Steven L. Waterman

Staff Written Obituaries

Steven L. Waterman, 74, passed away September 3, 2020 peacefully after an accelerated bout with military service-connected brain damage. Born in Hope, Maine, March 29, 1946, he was the son of Robert T. and Norma Blom Waterman. Other than his parents, Steve was predeceased by his first wife Judy Waterman, and his wife of 33 years, Mary Ware Waterman.  

He is survived by his wife, Dottie Billingsley Waterman of Madison, GA; his two sisters, Cheryl Waterman and Heather Waterman, both of South Thomaston, ME; his four children, Emily O. Dillon of Pensacola, Florida, Nellie M. Waterman of Memphis, TN, Erik R. Waterman of South Thomaston, ME, and Sarah M. Waterman of St. Joseph, IL; his three step children, Greg Billingsley of Kansas City, MO, Nancy Billingsley Furr of Madison, GA, and Abbie Billingsley of Chicago, Ill.; his grandchildren, Sophia, Anja, and Vincent Dillon, all of Pensacola, Fla., and Leah and Abby Waterman of South Thomaston, ME; his aunt Anne Cousens of South Thomaston, his step-mother Bebe Waterman of South Thomaston, and his three step-sisters, Wanda Johnson of Sidney, ME, Debra Goss of Owls Head, ME, and Elaine Young of Vinalhaven, ME, as well as nieces, nephews, cousins, innumerable shipmates, and friends.

Steve was a 1964 graduate of Rockland High School, where he spent most of his days behind a camera or in the photo lab.  After graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a photographer’s mate, went to dive school, became a First-Class diver, and continued on to be one of an elite group of servicemen as an underwater combat photographer.  He was attached to UDT-13 during the Vietnam War, and served a nine-month tour with them in 1969.  

After completing 13 years of active duty, he served in the Navy and Army reserves, completing 20 years’ service. Steve retired as a U.S. Navy Chief. 

He was owner and operator of Waterman Oceanics dive shop, a member of MENSA, taught SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) school, published in the Courier, the Weekly Waterfront, Yankee Magazine, National Fisherman, Soldier of Fortune, and in 2000 published his autobiographical account of his time in the Navy, Just a Sailor with Random House Publishing. He also wrote several other books centered around his love of and experiences in and on the ocean.  

Steve was a great mariner. Always involved in his community, he served on the South Thomaston Ambulance Service. He lobstered, took out fishing charters, was a scallop diver, and jumped at the chance to help anyone in need.  Photography was the one constant throughout his entire life.  Steve loved through his lens. He chronicled his adventures, his loves, and his life….and watched them all through the lens of his camera.

A graveside service with Military Honors was held at 11 a.m., Saturday, September 19, at Ocean View Cemetery, Spruce Head Road, South Thomaston.   In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the South Thomaston Ambulance Service, P.O. Box 147, South Thomaston, ME 04858.  To share a memory or story with Steve’s family, please visit their online Book of Memories at www.bchfh.com.   Arrangements were in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.

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