Stratford Man donates icebreaker painting to Glacier Society

Glacier Society Press Release
July 2, 2003

 

Ben Koether poses with William Egelski (right)
and his painting of the USS/USCGC Glacier

A Stratford man's love of the sea, fond memories of Naval service in the Pacific, Panama Canal and Iwo Jima following World War II, and his amateur painting skills have resulted in his contributing an acrylic painting of the veteran icebreaker, the USS/USCGC Glacier, to the Stratford-based international Glacier Society.

William Egelski, who served as a machinist mate on the USS Point Defiance LSD 31 from 1955 to 1957, presented his painting to Bernard Koether II, society chairman, a former navigator on the Glacier, during a recent visit.

Both the Glacier and the Defiance were commissioned in 1955 and were moored side by side before setting out to sea.

Coincidentally, today, Egelski's old ship once again is moored next to the Glacier in Suisun Bay, north of San Francisco, and parts from the Defiance are being used in the restoration of the Glacier for future service as a floating museum/university.

Recently, Egelski became aware of the Glacier Society headquarters on Honeyspot Road. His painting evolved from a photograph he took of a model of the Glacier on display in the society's lobby. The work took him about six hours to complete.

Egelski, who retired in 1990 from Avco Lycoming Co., took up painting as an amateur several years ago and has done watercolor works of many buildings in Boothe Park and shore scenes in Lordship and Fairfield.

The Glacier served for 10 years with the Navy, then was transferred to control of the Coast Guard. She was decommissioned in 1987 after 39 missions, most of them to the south Polar Regions. On her first mission, Glacier served as the flagship of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd on his final voyage to the Antarctic.

Each month, society volunteers from around the country perform technical, mechanical, electrical and maintenance work onboard the Glacier. The ship soon will be relocated from its present berth in the Maritime Administration's Defense Reserve Fleet Facility to a more accessible pier.

For information, call 203-375-6638 or visit www.glaciersociety.org.

 

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