Obituary of Timothy John Sagosz
Timothy Sagosz, 68, was born on June 26, 1950, in Newark, New Jersey, to Olga (Benda) and William Sagosz. The family moved several times, from New Jersey to Massachusetts and back again; Timothy graduated from West Orange High School in 1969. Timothy often said his peripatetic childhood gave him a life-long bug for travel, and the ability to make a home wherever he found himself. His interests added plenty of scope for exploration, as he reinvented himself to meet life’s challenges. He lived and thrived in New Jersey and New Orleans, London and St Albans in the UK, Monterey and San Diego in California, before settling in Olympia, WA.
After graduating from Long Island University, Brooklyn, with a degree in music and education, Timothy moved to Berkeley, California. Although he found teaching music to teenagers uncongenial work, he developed a deep love of the Golden State while roaming its roads on his motorcycle. When his first marriage ended in divorce in 1976, Timothy returned to New Jersey, where a serious accident on a wintry hill left him with a spinal cord injury (SCI) that made him a wheelchair user for the rest of his life.
Timothy’s activism around SCI issues informed many subsequent life choices and experiences. He lobbied for disability rights legislation in the 1970s; toured with the British theater company GraeAe in Europe in the 1980s; travelled to Khabarovsk, Russia (north of Vladivostok) to help deliver donated medical equipment in the 1990s; and in 2007 made Universal Design a key component of his degree project for a Masters in Architecture degree at the NewSchool of Architecture & Design in San Diego.
Although Timothy was fond of saying he was on his third -- or was it fifth? -- career when he became an architectural drafter in 1995, two constants informed his life: music and photography. He was an accomplished jazz guitarist in the mode of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green and Jimmy Ponder, performing as a soloist, with bass as a duo, and in groups of all sizes. His proudest achievements included opening for Al Hirt at New Orleans’ Storyville and playing with the British big band group The Legionnaires when they recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
From his early days as an amateur photojournalist, capturing protest marches in Washington, D. C., Timothy’s skill and talent as a photographer continued to develop. When he entered a few photographs in county and state fairs as a lark, he was astonished to win first place and grand champion ribbons for a wide variety of images over the years, most notably The Trail (pictured at top).
Timothy’s other great love was his wife, Laura. They married in London in 1985, and during their 33 years together criss-crossed Europe and North America by car, train, plane and cruise ship. Their picnics were legendary, usually enjoyed overlooking vistas reached by rural lanes marked “unsuitable for motor vehicles.” They renewed their wedding vows beneath Washington's state capitol dome in 2010.
Timothy passed away quite suddenly on September 23, although he had been battling illnesses related to his disability for four long years. As befits someone who loved remote countryside, Timothy will be laid to rest beside a woodland glade at White Eagle natural burial ground, Goldendale, on Saturday, October 13, 2018.
Timothy is survived by his wife, Laura, and brother Alan (Cindy) Sagosz and sister Nancy (Mark) Jerusik, and niece, Christine, and nephews Johnathan (Abby) and Christopher. He leaves behind a devoted family of friends.
Timothy was uncomfortable being showered with gifts. To reflect his giving spirit, the family suggests a donation in his name in lieu of flowers. These were among his favorite causes:
Planned Parenthood - https://www.plannedparenthood.org/
Doctors without Borders - https://donate.doctorswithoutborders.org/onetime.cfm
and listener-supported jazz radio:
KNKX Seattle - http://www.knkx.org/support
WBGO Newark -- https://pledge.wbgo.org/epledgenow