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  • Writer's pictureSeattle Seafarers Center

Home from the Sea: Remembering Father Tony Haycock

Fr. Tony Haycock passed away peacefully on Saturday, February 17th in Seattle. Fr. Tony Haycock was the beloved chaplain for the Catholic Seamen’s Club in Seattle, which eventually merged with the local Episcopal and Lutheran missions to become what is today the Seattle Seafarers Center.

Fr. Tony Haycock will be remembered next week at the following services, both at St. Anne’s Catholic Church (1411 1st Ave. W. in Seattle, WA):

  • A Vigil Service will take place on Tuesday, March 5th at 7pm

  • A Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Wednesday, March 6th at 10am

Fr. Tony was born in Birmingham, England and spent a lot of his summer holidays in Ireland at his mothers homestead in Ballyburn, Kilmore Quay, County Wexford. He was ordained in Kilmore Quay church in 1972. He served the first 3 years of his ministry in South Africa, and became fluent in Afrikaans, as well as German and Spanish. He then moved to Seattle, where he served at several parishes in the Archdiocese, and eventually became the parish priest at the multicultural St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the Central District. He was also appointed in 1992 as the chaplain of the local seafarers’ mission where he and others worked to meet the spiritual and practical needs of seafarers who stop over in Seattle. He also spent some time piloting his own airplane administering to the inhabitants of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle. He returned to Kilmore Quay church in October 2012 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his ordination.

Decades before Father Tony Haycock became chaplain at the Catholic Seafarers’ Center, he was a seaman himself. As a teenager growing up in England, he worked on fishing boats, often in rough seas.

Father Tony was also a musician, and was known for breaking into Irish sea shanties. Below is a recording of him singing one of his favorite songs, “Home From the Sea.”

Fr. Tony wrote, “‘Home from the Sea’ is about a lifeboat and reminds me of the volunteer fishermen, many of them my relatives in Ireland, who put out to sea and save lives. It is also an ode of gratitude to Seafarer’s Centers and their staffs who play the part of lifeboats and safe harbors for the myriad crews of all nationalities who enter our ports in North America. Away from their homes for many months, we work hard to create a ‘Home from the Sea’ for them.”

Rest in peace, Fr. Tony, knowing you are safe Home from the sea.

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Cyn French
Cyn French

When I worked at the Mission to Seafarers in Seattle, Father Tony would sometimes stop in to check on how things were going at the center and to hear any news I might have from recent ship visits or sailors visiting the center. It was always a joy to chat with him and he loved checking out the garden when he stopped by in the springtime. I hope that his memory is a blessing to everyone who had the opportunity to meet or him.

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