Steven Waterman

Steven L. Waterman

March 29, 1946 - September 3, 2020
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MADISON, GEORGIA - 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, IL; his grandchildren, Sophia, Anja, and Vincent Dillon, all of Pensacola, FL, 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 will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 19, 2020, 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 Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, Rockland.
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Service Details

  • Graveside Service with Military Honors

    Saturday September 19, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday September 19, 2020 11:00am
    Ocean View Cemetery, South Thomaston
    Rt. 73 Spruce Head Road
    South Thoamston, Maine 04858
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Face Coverings and Social Distancing are recommended. Please consider providing your own portable seating.
  • Interment

    Saturday September 19, 2020 | 11:00am
    Saturday September 19, 2020 11:00am
    Ocean View Cemetery
    Route 73
    South Thomaston, ME 04858
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Peter Johnson

Posted at 02:20pm
Pete Johnson
He will be missed. He was a wonderful man, very intelligent, caring, and could tell stories that always made you smile.

Chuck Pfarrer

Posted at 04:45pm
For the Waterman family. My name is Chuck Pfarrer; I'm a former SEAL and count myself as a friend of Steve's. I just wanted to say what a wonderful, kind, intelligent and accomplished man he was. As we all do, Steve loved the ocean; he was an incredible waterman, diver, sailor, photographer, author and Teammate. He'll be missed by the many SEAL and UDT operators whom he served with and all of those whose lives he touched through his photography and writing. Fair winds and following seas to one of the best men I ever knew.


Posted at 11:50am
So sorry to hear that Steve had passed. He and my late brother, Albert O. Harjula, were divers together for a long time. Steve joked that they spent so much time together on jobs that it was like they were married! My brother thought the world of him. He was a great guy, with a great sense of humor.

Ken Hess

Posted at 06:47pm
The only reason I ever became a Navy Underwater Photographer was because Steve went to Chief Johnson and told him to send me to second class diving school. Steve was not much for words but when he spoke you knew how he felt. He was the only diver I ever knew who could talk underwater and you could understand what he was saying as clearly as if he was standing next to you on land. His hands were so big that if he was holding a Nikonos U/W camera you only saw his hands. He swam like a fish and ran like a gazelle. Steve was a very smart man and I wish I was there to say goodbye

Charlie & Linda Famuliner

Posted at 01:44pm
Rest In Peace, my friend!
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