Michael W. Wascom

February 4, 1949April 6, 2023
Obituary of Michael W. Wascom
Wascom, Michael Wayne Mike Wascom, a longtime resident of Baton Rouge, died on April 6, 2023. He was the best of men—kind, compassionate, selfless, and loving. And smart, so smart that we often just ended questions with ”go ask Mike.” He loved knowledge, history, political study, nature, reading and puns. He was best friend to his wife of 43 years and the one who always told her she was beautiful despite the years. He was of a generation when men always had a handkerchief and wore a belt, even with shorts. He never quite achieved that casual look. He gave love and support to his son Andrew and stepchildren Rebecca and Jonathan. He was grandfather to three great boys, Pei, Luis and Quinn, with whom he spent hours on homework assignments, learning what they were learning, and just watching movies and talking. Mike was born on February 4, 1949, in the city of New Orleans, lived for a time on Bayou Plaquemine, and was adopted by the Wascom family of North Baton Rouge. He was raised in a labor union family and grew to understand the importance of a living wage to those who worked in the trades. Mike was a proud member of the Istrouma High Class of 1967, where he served as Student Body President. He received an LSU Alumni Federation scholarship and worked his way through LSU at various jobs, including pipefitter’s helper, and managing the analog cash register at Goudchaux’s the day after Christmas. At the suggestion of a college roommate, Mike worked four summers selling dictionaries door to door for the Southwestern Book Company. He travelled the Blue Ridge mountains with his best bookselling mate, Dale Mathews. He made enough money to backpack through Europe, and on to Morocco, Turkey, and Iran. It was the trip of a lifetime as he embraced all people and cultures. Mike received a B.A. degree in History from LSU, where he was selected to Phi Eta Signa and Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK). He was Legislative Vice-President of the Student Government Association and a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity. Mike obtained a Juris Doctor degree from LSU School of Law and a Master of Law from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He worked as a Congressional Liaison for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and on legislative matters involving the Sea Grant College Program, climate research, and oil spill research. Mike returned to Baton Rouge and worked for 33 years at LSU. He served as Director of the Sea Grant Legal Program, Director of the LSU Institute of Environmental Studies, and taught in the LSU College of the Coast and Environment. He received awards for outstanding teaching and public service and co-founded the Bar Association’s Section of Environmental Law. He was appointed special assistant Attorney General for coastal management and served as Special Counsel to the Office of the Governor for the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office. He co-authored, with his best friend Jim Wilkins, the often-cited Law Review article on the Public Trust Doctrine in Louisiana. However, Mike always felt he was a “Sea-Granter” at heart with his love of fisheries and ocean policy. Community service was special to Mike. He served on the Board of the International Hospitality Foundation and was a member of the Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was President of the Board of Joseph Homes, a shelter for homeless ex-offenders run by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Baton Rouge. He served on the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery Board and was President of the Board of the Louisiana Environmental Action Network. Mike is survived by his spouse and best friend, Kathleen “Kathy” Quinn Rhorer, their son Andrew Wascom, (Julia) of Salem, MA; stepdaughter Rebecca Lazarus Newman (Sherman), Baton Rouge; stepson Jonathan Lazarus of Mendon VT; sisters Jan Devillier and Cyndy Johnson, Plaquemine; three step-grandsons, Pei and Luis Lazarus and Quinn Gerdes with whom he cherished every minute. Mike loved his Rhorer family—in-laws and outlaws—as the spouses of this clan called themselves. They are Jan Rhorer Breen, Edward (Skip) Rhorer (Laura), Julie Rhorer, Paul Rhorer (Christine), Megan Rhorer Cordova (Jorge) and Dr. Jim Rhorer. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Denise Wascom Johnson and brothers William Lawrence and Ron Chamberlain. Also, his Rhorer in-laws: Samson Breen, Walter Comeaux and Davis Rhorer. And his sports buddy and much-loved mother-in-law Janet Quinn Rhorer. Mike wished to encourage everyone to focus on family and friends, on the ups and downs of life and its intangibles and to experience the beauty and wonder of nature. Memorial donations may be made to the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, 162 Croydon Avenue 70806; Joseph Homes at Friends of Catholic Charities, 1900 S. Acadian Thruway 70808; St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, 412 North St. 70802-5496 or to the Janet Q. Rhorer Endowed Scholarship at St. Joseph’s Academy, 3015 Broussard St. 70808. Memorial services will be held on Friday, April 14th at Rabenhorst Funeral Home, 825 Government Street. Visitation from 8:30 to 9:30 with services from 9:30 to 10:00 and burial after in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. To view and sign the online guestbook, please visit

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