Monday, March 17, 2014

Maritime Metaphors: In memory of Tim Przygocki

(by Lisbit Bailey, Archivist and Pop Music Aficionado)

In Memory of Timothy Przygocki
7 October 1948 to 19 February 2014

Portrait of Tim, 1970s

Tim moved to San Francisco in 1972. Captivated by the historic full-rigged ship Balclutha, he made historic ship preservation his passion and career. He started as a volunteer for the San Francisco Maritime Museum and worked his way up to Historic Ship Rigger.

His unique skills lead to many interesting jobs which included serving on the crew of the replica ship Golden Hinde in 1979 when she sailed to Japan for the filming of the miniseries Shogun. Tim and other crew members acted as extras in the film.

Tim became a National Park Service employee when the Balclutha and the Maritime Museum were transferred to federal stewardship.

Portrait of Tim in NPS uniform, 1990s
In his NPS uniform in the 1990s

In the mid-1990s, Tim started his second career at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park as the Safety and Hazardous Materials Manager. The many years he worked on the historic ships gave him a clear understanding of the complex and dangerous work involved in historic ship preservation. He was as passionate about taking care of his fellow employees and park visitors as he was about the ships.

Tim retired from the National Park Service in September 2010.

Tim and his 1979 Spider Veloce, in 2012
Tim and his 1979 Spider Veloce, in 2012
Tim is greatly missed by his family and his many friends near and far.

You can read his obituaries at the Mishawaka High School Class of 1968 site (MS Word format only), and until the end of March 2014 also in the San Francisco Chronicle and the SouthBend Tribune.

In honor of Tim’s life, I’ve selected a song to share here on Maritime Metaphors called Sailboats.  This beautiful and moving song was written by Adam R. Young who is Sky Sailing. It was released 27 July 2010. The album is titled An Airplane Carried Me to Bed.


Sailboats wish that they were stars
Floating softly in the sky
Among our dreams that bid goodbye
Moving through transparent space
Drifting through the stratosphere
And onward 'til they disappear

These continents from overhead
Look like tiny paper shapes
Intricately set in place
Below the misty mountain clouds
There's a lovely silver bay
Where sunset sailors often hideaway

Scuba diver in the loch
Speedboat driver on the dock
Sailplane pilot in the blue
Take me up there with you
The world looks brighter
From this high altitude

I was walking through the trees
(Sailboats wish that they were stars)
And I was swimming through the seas
('Cause they don't know who they are)

I was falling through the air
When it hit me right there
My eyes are tired, I don't even care

An airplane carried me to bed
Where I slept above the coast
And dreamt I had become a ghost
I sail above the frozen peaks
Deep in cold cathedral caves
Across the hills and far beyond the waves

Take the car on the run
Fly the jet to the sun
And bring the spacecraft in soon
While I play chess with the moon
I feel like sleeping
Through this cold afternoon

Once in 1964
(Sailboats wish that they were stars)
An actress ran on the shore
('Cause they don't know who they are)

And though you'll never return
I love you, Audrey Hepburn
Sometimes I can see your face in the crowd

There are sailboats throughout this brilliant sky
But you cannot pick them out if you can't fly
I'm glad the earth doesn't care if I go up there
If you want to just ask me and I'll take you along

In recognition of Tim’s early days with the organization that became San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, I’ve selected 6 items from the Park’s Museum Collection including 3 drawings, 2 paintings and 1 poster of the Park’s Historic Fleet circa 1970:

SAFR 526, painting, Golden Hynde off Point Reyes, California, being towed in calm waters, 1977

SAFR 19313, painting, Balclutha at San Francisco's  Fisherman's Wharf dock, seen broadside from starboard, partly obscured by Pier 43 1/2 gate building in foreground, circa 1965-1985

SAFR 15404, drawing, Alma, port stern quarter view of vessel under sail, 1972

SAFR 19345, drawing, Wapama, port broadside view of 1915 steam schooner WAPAMA during the 1970's 

SAFR 19732, painting, Eppleton Hall, bow port quarter view of tug in San Francisco Bay, with Golden Gate Bridge in far background. Painted entirely in blue, 1970’s


  1. Lisbit, it would be nice to know the artists names. Is the top painting of the HINDE by Bill Gilkerson? Thanks.

  2. You can get more information on our museum collections objects by searching by their cataloging number in quotes in the NPS Museum Web Catalog at: e.g., put "safr 526" in the search box, and it will tell you that, yes, it's by Gilkerson. Unfortunately, the catalog doesn't allow us to directly link to the records, but if that feature comes in a new release we'll be sure to use it!