Colonel Hamilton DeSaussure, United States Air Force, retired, died peacefully at his home on February 23, 2017 at the age of 95.
Hamilton DeSaussure ("Des") had lived in Hudson, Ohio since his retirement from the Air Force in 1970. He was born in Brunswick, Georgia and grew up in Washington, DC. He attended Yale University before leaving college to serve his country in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He returned from the war to obtain his BA from Yale University. While still on active duty with the military, he obtained his law degree from Harvard University and an LLM from McGill University's Air and Space Institute. During World War II, he served as a bomber pilot flying a B-24 Liberator (the "Miss I Hope") from Cerignola, Italy with the 455th Bombardment Group of the 304th Bomb Wing of the 15th Air Force. He received a Certificate of Valor for 35 missions over enemy territory, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Three Oak Leaf Clusters for extraordinary achievement in aerial flight, and other battle and campaign medals. Of his many wartime stories, one includes being escorted home by planes from the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail squadron after his aircraft was disabled in battle. After WWII, Col. DeSaussure attended Harvard Law School while on active duty. Following graduation, he was assigned to Tokyo, Japan as a member of the occupying force, assisting in Japan's evolution to a democratic state. While in Japan, he was called up for flight duty during the early moments of the Korean conflict and flew multiple missions into Pyongyang. While in Japan, he also met and then married Maj-Britt Sundberg, and they remained happily married until her recent passing in July, 2016. Following service in Japan and Korea, Col. DeSaussure continued to serve in the Air Force JAG Corps, during which service he was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, Ankara, Turkey and Washington, DC. Upon his retirement from the Air Force in 1970, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, First Oak Leaf Cluster. Upon his retirement from active duty, Col. DeSaussure became a member of the faculty at the University of Akron School of Law where he served for approximately 25 years. Although he taught a number of subjects including Torts and Conflicts of Laws, he was widely regarded as an expert in the fields of Air and Space Law, International Law and the Law of the Sea. He was widely known for his work in the growing field of Space Law and studied and wrote on issues such as international space treaties, the Moon Treaty, remote sensing from orbit and the development of a maritime-based legal framework for outer space law. While on the faculty at Akron University, he also taught at McGill University's Air and Space Institute, the Naval War College, the Presidio, and West Point Academy, among other academic institutions. He retired in 1992 but remained on Emeritus Status at Akron University for several years during which he continued active scholarship and teaching.
Colonel DeSaussure was predeceased by Maj-Britt , his wife of 66 years, and his son James P. DeSaussure. He is survived by his children, Amory Kaiser of Chandler AZ, Ariane DeSaussure (Lt. Col. USAF, ret.) of Washington DC, Margaret DeSaussure of Austin, TX, and Hamilton DeSaussure, Jr. of Hudson, OH and 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday March 16, 2017 at 6:00 PM at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Atterbury Blvd. Hudson, OH, officiated by the Rev. Joseph Boysel. The family will receive friends from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM prior to the service at Holy Trinity. A private interment will be conducted at the Markillie Cemetery in Hudson, OH. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Laurel Lake Foundation, 200 Laurel Lake Dr. Hudson, OH or to Holy Trinity Anglican Church, 55 Atterbury Blvd., Hudson, OH. Arrangements by Johnson-Romito Funeral Home Hudson, OH (330) 650-4181. www.johnsonromito.com
(Johnson-Romito Funeral Home (330) 650-4181 HH 3-1-17)