Zygmunt F. Baczewski
February 25, 1920 - February 23, 2015
A Truly Great Man of Substance and Spirit
Zygmunt Francis Baczewski, known as Zig or Sig, passed peacefully on Feb 23, 2015, 2 days before reaching his 95th birthday in Edmonds, WA. He was the eldest son of Honorata and Klemens Baczewski, American citizens originally from Poland. Born on Feb 25, 1920 in the Panama Canal Zone where his father was in the US Army, he moved to New York as a baby. He attended St. Aloysius Elementary School, Great Neck High school and Cooper Union in NY where he graduated with honors in chemical engineering and was employed by Shell Oil Company directly out of school. He married Mary O'Neal in St. Louis in 1947 and lived in the New York area and in Texas over the years. Mary passed away in 2013. He survived his two younger brothers Edward and Klemens.
He is survived by his 5 children Xtine Baczewska, Mary Elizabeth (Mosa) Baczewska, Kathryn B Fender, Philip Baczewski and Margaret Gee, and 4 grandchildren -Chris and Andrew Fender, Nicolas Baczewski and Campbell Gee.
Zygmunt Francis Stanislaus Baczewski. Our father
By Mosa Baczewska
There are so many things I can tell you about him.
I can tell you things about him that stood out. His name Zygmunt, his birthplace in the Panama Canal Zone, his brilliance as a musician and a student at Cooper Union, graduating in the top part of his class.
I can tell you about who he was by what he did. He married our Mom, the stunning Mary O'Neal and their love lasted 65 years until Mom's passing in 2013. Because of their partnership and unconditional love, they raised 5 unique and intelligent, charming and fabulous children. He was always enthused about new things. Like the time someone mentioned camping at the office and our next summer vacation found us camping across the country to visit our grandparents, tent, sleeping bags, coleman stove. etc in tow. Or in the late 80's when he discovered gourmet cooking and our breakfast conversations centered around his enthusiasm for what he would cook for dinner.
He was a creative man. He always loved music, having played violin since boyhood. In the 60's he built a Hammond organ from a kit, before solid state, soldering each tiny transistor and multiple connection in place. I began my music lessons on that organ. He first studied stained glass in New Mexico, and maintained a hobby as a stained glass craftsman during the 1970's -80's. He installed several commissioned windows in the Houston, Texas area.
He was politically liberal, anti-war and informed our perspectives with justice and equanimity. He inspired us to become self taught guitar players with him, and we had many family sessions of rousing folk songs in the 60's. He lead guitar masses in the 70's including mass held at our house, the underground church, where the communion bread had been baked by my mother. Upon his retirement from Shell Oil in1982, he was presented with a 5" thick, 105 page compilation of hand written well wishes and memories. He was a rare gem in the old school corporate environment and people valued his intelligence, generosity of spirit and wise counsel.
After retiring to this part of the country, he and Mary both studied and performed on a home organ as members of the the "M and M's" (Meals and Music) You can see where the priorities were with which came first. He explored the possibilities of sound combinations and loved performing unexpected and passionate arrangements. He loved the volume pedal. He and Mom were annual subscribers to the Seattle Symphony Pops Concerts. He capped a life-long interest in HAM radio with the acquisition of his license in the 1990's and was an active "HAM" for about a decade, participating in emergency disaster drills.
I can tell you about his generosity, his sense of humor, his kindness. He was instrumental in establishing a church council at St Thomas More Parish and volunteered for several years at the Everett Senior Center, preparing tax returns for seniors. He supported many non-profit organizations over the years.
Beyond all that he accomplished, he was very charming, intelligent, generous and had a zest for life and a joie de vivre, greeting each day with a smile and in answer to the question "How are you?", "Very well, very well".
I took care of him these last 4 years. I got to know him and love him in a way I may never have otherwise. I am a better person because of him. He became a man of few words, being content to sit and be quiet. He had made peace with his life, being "fully retired." "When you're done, you're done", he would say. I would periodically ask him, "A penny for your thoughts, Dad. " He would reply, "I have no thoughts." I called him my contemplative monk Daddio. In the last weeks of his life one day I upped the ante and said, "A million dollars for your thoughts, Dad." to which he mumbled a reply. "What?" I asked not understanding" ..."Two million," was his answer.
This was a truly great man of substance and spirit. I watched so many people understand this upon meeting him, even if for one time. I have cried tears for him, not tears of a life lost but tears of gratitude and joy for a life well lived - for the absolute beauty of that.
Well done Dad, well done.
Mosa Baczewska - Feb 28, 2015
A funeral mass for Sig Baczewski will be held at St Thomas More Parish church on Tuesday, March 3 2015 at 11:00 am. A reception and luncheon will follow in the parish hall. The church is located in Lynnwood on 176th and 64th St (west on 176th off 99, 2 stop signs, church on right).
He loved music and played keyboard tel the end. Donations can be made in his name Zygmunt F. Baczewski, to the Seattle Symphony. -Online at http://seattlesymphony.org/give There is a place to designate his name. -Mail check with designation to: Seattle Symphony P.O. Box 21906 Seattle WA 98111-3906 -With Credit Card over the phone by calling Zoe direct at 206-215-4739
Don't be sad
I am a snowflake
I am in the rays of the sun
I am in the sparkling of stars
I am forever in your heart
"When you're done, you're done."
- Sig Baczewski