Alessandro Baccari, Jr. Renaissance Man December 4, 2010 Saint Francis Yacht Club San Francisco
play "Little Guy," starring a local seven-year-old Italian boy, opened
at the Fairmont Hotel theater in 1935. So began Al's dedication to
performance, to art and to music--his cornerstone for a meaningful life.
As that young boy took the stage, could anyone have predicted the
fascinating journey his life would take?
childhood was blessed with a loving family: a father, Alessandro, Sr., a
mother, Edith and a half-sister, Albina. His father's nationally
recognized creative talents in art, music and playwriting attracted many
celebrities to their home. Al's father would ask visitors like Eugene
O'Neill, Benny Bufano and Paul Robeson, "Would you be the father of my
son for a day?" Numerous surrogate fathers helped train Al to listen,
communicate and learn about their professions and businesses. This rare
education in mature socializing would nurture Al's relationships
throughout his life.
Cherished childhood memories include Al's
training in ballet, fencing and pugilism, all at his grandmother
Al's weekly assignment at a young age was to
write a 500-word essay which his father mentored. As years passed, that
discipline of converting thinking to writing became a reliable tool for
serving him at Santa Clara University, UC Berkeley's graduate school
The culmination of a family's dedicated involvement
brought forth "a renaissance boy with learned compassion."
chance, in a public park years ago, Al met Cathy. Their marriage was
enriched with time-honored Italian family commitments. Some hard times,
of course, but they lived life with love, devotion and an appreciation
for their sons Gregory and Stephen. Al gratefully acknowledges Cathy's
determination as wife, mother and muse that enabled his artistic life to
flourish amid his business enterprises. An unrelenting enterpriser,
Alessandro Baccari and Associates developed nationally acclaimed
socioeconomic studies; produced television documentaries honored
throughout Europe; and created award-winning programs, one hosted by
Al's photographic art in books, museums and
galleries is internationally recognized. Kodak and Polaroid have honored
his excellence in photography. The recent International Award from the
American Society of Photographers also attests to his creative talents.
John Paul's Benemerenti Medal for dedicated service to the Catholic
Church was a blessing. Italy also knighted Al for his authorship of The
Chronicles of the Italian Cathedral of the West: A History of Sts. Peter
and Paul Church in San Francisco's North Beach. A Fulbright Grant and a
Distinguished American Scholars Grant highlight a worthy career in
education and public service including that as a California ambassador
of goodwill to Europe. Al's full list of awards and honors could fill
On behalf of all San Franciscans he won a
rigorous campaign to protect Fisherman's Wharf as an historical
district. The annual Blessing of the Fishing Fleet and the Wharf's
Historical Society cherish Al's continued involvement and rigorous
For today's Al, you need only to engage him in
conversation to discover Al Baccari's humanity. He looks into your eyes,
listens with patience and speaks with sincerity. That's the endearing
way he earns your respect.
The Baccari family and Al are
inseparable. So tonight, Il Cenacolo's "Man of the Year Award" honors
Alessandro Baccari Jr. for a life of admirable accomplishments that are
embedded with his Italian family traditions and devotion to his beloved
city and community.