BERMUDA RUN - Mr. Laurence J. Legere, 82, died Aug. 11, 2001, at Forsyth Medical Center.
He was born Jan. 2, 1919, in Leominster, Mass.
Mr. Legere graduated from West Point in 1940, where he was first in his class in foreign languages, economics, government and law. One of the first volunteers for parachute duty, he served in World War II with the 101st Airborne Division, and was severely wounded in Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. After the war, Legere spent two years teaching economics and government at West Point, then three years in graduate work at Harvard, where he earned two master's degrees and a Ph.D. in political science. In the 1950s he served in Berlin, Korea, France and Washington, including a tour in the White House as defense assistant to William Jackson, a political-military special assistant to President Eisenhower. After attending the National War College in 1961, Legere served two more years in the White House - one as assistant for Berlin and NATO to General Maxwell D. Taylor, a military representative of President Kennedy, and one as the defense member on the staff of McGeorge Bundy, the assistant to the president for national-security affairs. A tour commanding a brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and one in the office of Secretary of Defense ended his military service, with his request for retirement being approved in 1966. There followed a year at MIT's Center for International Studies and seven years with the Institute for Defense Analyses in Washington, where he became the director of its International and Social Studies Division. In 1974 he became Secretary of Defense in Europe, stationed in Brussels, Belgium. He remained in this position until he retired at his request in July 1989, when he and his wife moved into Bermuda Run. Legere's military decorations included the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. While at NATO he was decorated by the Secretary of Defense five times, including three awards of the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest civilian decoration the department bestows. Upon retirement, he was decorated with the Award of the President of the United States for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, which President Bush presented to him at a White House ceremony April 9, 1990.
He is survived by his wife, Brenda Legere; and his brother, Robert J. Legere and wife Doris and family of Fitchburg, Mass.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 20, 2001, at the Chapel of Most Holy Trinity at West Point, N.Y. Burial will follow in Post Cemetery 2001, Chapel of Most Holy Trinity at 1:30 p.m.