Since 1964 Jimmy Becker has been the magic behind Rybovich extraordinary paint & varnish finishes. I also think he might have been about the closest friend my dad ever had.
August 1, 2015
Jimmy was a gentle soul with the patience of a saint. For me as a child, the Paint Shop held endless fascination. Jimmy not only tolerated my harebrained ideas (like an obsession to paint big multi-colored polka dots on my bicycle). He stopped what he was doing to make sure I had the right paints & brushes so the projects turned out Rybovich-right.
My cousin Michael Rybovich sent me this beautiful tribute to the beautiful man. He said it would be ok to share it with you.
Jimmy Becker 1980
Jimmy Becker passed away June 23 at the age of 85. The combination of years of anti-rejection medication from his 1998 heart transplant and his long term battle with skin cancer finally took its toll. He was, by far, the finest human being I have ever known and I will miss him dearly. Ernie (Pate) and I went to see him down at Cleveland Clinic in Weston on Fathers Day and got a chance to say goodbye. Marty took him home that evening, brought in Hospice, and he died two days later.
Jimmy was the last earthly connection we had to our family and the old yard. He taught me everything I know about paint and varnish. I still clean my brushes the way he showed me on my first day on the crew, in spite if a lot of input from others with their own ideas. Every time I open a can of varnish and smell that wonderful smell, I think about Jimmy and Gormy Covar. His stories of the golden years in the yard filled in many holes in that history and were a major source of inspiration to me throughout my life in the business. He loved working at the yard more than anything else in this world, and was there for the best and the worst of it. He loved and respected all three brothers and knew each ones strengths and weaknesses but your dad was his mentor and, without question, his favorite. Tommy now has his right hand man with him again and together they will shine up the good Lords fleet and probably teach the angels a better way to paint.
Attached is a picture I took of Jimmy in 1980 on a sea trial -- work clothes, wind in his hair, a little spray coming off the chines.
Michael, Michael Rybovich & Sons Boat Works
I love the thought of Jimmy and my dad busy teaching the angels how to paint!