S/V Tiger Lilly

Rig heavy, reef early, and pray often; for God does not assure us an easy passage, but He does promise a safe anchorage...

02 January 2018 | Clan Jeti Anchorage, Georgetown, Penang Island, Malaysia
03 November 2016 | Singapore, Southeast Asia
02 October 2016 | Kumai River, Borneo
24 August 2016 | Rindja Island, Indonesia
22 July 2016 | Fannie Bay, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
14 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
13 June 2016 | Pancake Creek, Queensland, Australia
11 June 2016 | Burnette Heads, Queensland, Australia
07 June 2016 | Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
11 May 2016 | Colmsie, Brisbane River, Queensland, Australia
23 December 2015 | Brisbane, Australia
13 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
07 August 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
23 July 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
12 April 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
11 February 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
25 January 2015 | Whangarei, New Zealand
24 September 2014 | BORA BORA, French Polynesia
23 September 2014 | Bora Bora


22 November 2013 | Spanish Waters, Curacao
Tom and Lilly aboard S/V Tiger Lilly
This is a picture of Lilly sailing our dinghy "GRACE" in Curacao. On 13 November 2013 Tom's mother Grace passed away at the age of 92. This is the tribute that Tom wrote to the memory of his mother.

Our mother Grace was truly an extraordinary woman - a product of the dynamic times she lived in, her outgoing personality, and the vicissitudes of life. Born in 1921, her childhood years were shadowed by World War One, as a teenager she lived through the Great Depression, World War Two predominated her life as a young woman, and adulthood found her raising three children on her own. Mom was raised on a vegetable farm in rural Westlake, Ohio. Her mother Louise and father Sylvester were born in the United States, but their parents were born in Germany, and they spoke both English and German in their home. One of four daughters, Grace was taught at an early age to work hard and be of good character - traits she would pass on to her children. Mother experienced a dynamic, changing world throughout her life span; in her early childhood their farm house did not have electricity, they got their water from a well, her family did not have a telephone, and the little house out by the barn served as their toilet. When mom was born: the airplane was less than a decade old, and international transportation was by steamship; mass communications were by short wave radio - if you had electricity; the transistor and modern electronics had not yet been invented; and Henry Ford had just started the concept of modern mass production. As practicing Lutherans, the Schnitzler family epitomized the qualities of the protestant work ethic. Grace and her sisters, Marie, Ethel, and Blanche, all had their daily chores on the family farm, yet they still found time for fun. Mother enjoyed telling the story of how one day their baseball bounced into the outhouse well and she lowered her older sister Ethel by the ankles into the pit to retrieve it. Mom was an active sportswoman, and she took great pleasure in being a member of her high school basketball team. A member of the "Greatest Generation", during World War Two she worked in a Cleveland machinery supply company which provided critical equipment to the war effort. Her fiancé Quintin, our father, was deployed aboard US Navy ships with the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Fleets - he had three ships sunk out from under him as a result of enemy action during the war. It is hard to imagine today how the war must have affected Grace, a young woman in her early twenties; pondering the uncertainty of the war, and wondering if her betrothed would ever return to her. But Quintin survived the bloody campaigns of Sicily, North Africa, and Normandy. After recovering from his physical wounds in an Allied military hospital, he and Grace were married shortly after the war.

Three Baby-Boomer Generation children, Tom, Gretchen, and Quintin (known as QM) were born to Grace and Quintin in the comfortable Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, Ohio. We lived just down the street from Lake Erie and the waterfront home of the infamous Doctor Sam Shepherd who murdered his wife Marilyn; a friend of our mother in the PTA. Quintin, owned and operated a successful plumbing and heating business in those post war boom times of the early 1950's. Unfortunately, Quintin was an alcoholic, and soon after they moved to Indian Rocks Beach, Florida in 1955 their marriage collapsed, and our mother found herself raising three young children without the help of a husband. Her younger sister Blanche moved in with us, and the sisters shouldered the load together, just like they did back on the farm as young girls. Mom had a sharp, organized mind, and she ran the administrative part of the lab in the old Mound Park Hospital in St. Petersburg. The doctors and staff came to depend on her, and to love her - as long as they did it her way. Auntie Blanche was the Executive Secretary to the President of Florida Power, and together these two ladies had their own special impact on the little town of St. Petersburg in the mid 1950's.

In 1957 mother met and married a quiet fellow named Wallace, and they set out to forge a new life together in Arizona - with a ready-made family of three boisterous kids. As a result of unfortunate circumstances in Arizona, after only a short time together, mom found herself alone again, raising three kids on her own, and waiting for Wallace to be able to return home. That is how our little family ended-up in the West Twenty-Fifth Street Projects of Cleveland in 1958, with Grace back to work at the same firm she worked for during World War Two. It has often been said that God never gives us a job to do without giving us the resources to succeed, but mom really had to stretch those resources while we were living in the projects and waiting for Wallace's return. Unlike most of the people in the projects, my mom never collected a dime from welfare - she raised three kids on a secretary's wages. We always had clean clothes in good repair and plenty to eat, and somehow she saved enough money for a small vacation every year. What a remarkable woman our mother was. But then, that is the love and sacrifice of a mother. Perhaps the foundation of our Christian life is that there can be no love without sacrifice.

Hollywood doesn't usually make movies about real-life boot-strap heroes like mom, who time and again overcame serious, sustained, adversity in life - good character and sacrifice just are not glamorous or exciting enough for the movies; but we were raised by a gutsy lady named Grace who certainly deserved such recognition. When Wallace was able to return to mother and the family in Ohio, they began a time of rebuilding, and they worked very hard together. A new era of my mother's life was dawning, a much more genteel time when she could enjoy the fruits of her labor. Tom was in the Navy, and Gretchen was married, when Grace and Wallace set off for St. Petersburg with QM in 1968 - they were coming home. In the lab at St. Petersburg General Hospital, mom was in her element. Although her job description was administrative head of the laboratory, she knew, and they knew, she was running the whole show. Wallace had a landscaping maintenance service, and these two set about making up for lost time. Most of you know about the rest of her life; after retirement mom was busy running the volunteer organization at St. Petersburg general hospital and working in the hospital thrift shop, and volunteering here at Church By The Sea as a Holy Folder, and a Sunday greeter. Hey, if you have a job that needs to be done, give it to a busy person, like Grace. She immensely enjoyed her three children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was an avid fan of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team - and she hated it when the New York Yankees fans out-numbered, and out-cheered, the Ray's fans in their own stadium! Wallace passed away over twelve years ago, and since then she has lived alone independently (with Gretchen's help) in her own home in the Mainlands retirement community - which was certainly a blessing from God.

Frequently, we only get a passing glimpse of a friend's personality and character; more often than not just a small window on who they are, and where they came from on their journey through life. Oftentimes, it is not until a person's funeral that we find out just who they were, and learn of the events which formed their character and developed their strengths. My mom never stopped teaching me or showing me how to live - I am particularly grateful for the loving way she brought my new wife Lilly into her family. Of course, first, Grace the matriarch, warned Lilly about my checkered past, and asked her if she had any idea of what it meant to team up with a character like Tom Service in a marriage, living aboard a 44 foot boat, and sailing around the World. Lilly said she thought she did understand what she was getting into, and she told mom she was all-in. (Actually, mom's warning to Lilly was a confirmation of multiple other sources of information.) They had a couple of laughs together - at my expense, of course - and she made Lilly feel like a well-loved daughter-in-law. Mother told Lilly that I was so inept at feeding myself, that likely someday I would be found dead of starvation on the kitchen floor, with a can opener in one hand, and a can of beans in the other - and too lazy to open it. These lovely Christian women quickly hooked-up and became two peas-in-a-pod - they thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. You can imagine how good that made me feel. We hope that during this celebration of Grace's life, that you too will share with someone your special experience with our mom - that extraordinary lady named Grace

Our sister Gretchen and her husband Jack have looked after our mother for the past several years while I have been off chasing the horizon, and voyaging around the World. Often, it was a real challenge for Gretchen to help and guide such a strong willed person as our mother; but much of the strength and goodness of our mother is in her daughter, and Gretchen persevered with love and compassion. Thank you, Gretchen and Jack. Gretchen, you are clearly your mother's daughter. We also would like to thank the folks at Hospice for making mother's last hours as comfortable as possible. We hope that you will remember the wonderful work Hospice does when considering how to give back to our community.

I wrote this tribute to a great lady, my mom, from an anchorage along the shore of a remote island in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. My wife Lilly and I live aboard our sailboat TIGER LILLY, and we are the only vessel currently at this island. A cold front is rolling down from North America and the wind is howling; we are seeking shelter in an open anchorage and rolling heavily. Hanging on to the computer with one hand, and typing with the other - it is a sailor's lot, and a time of reflection for a grateful son who dearly loved his mother. The last time I spoke with my mother was just a couple of weeks before her death on a Skype call from a remote town deep in the Amazon Delta of Brazil. She was her usual upbeat and positive self, encouraging Lilly and me while mom was on the mend, recuperating from a nasty fall. Tonight, our dinghy GRACE is on deck and lashed down securely during this time of heavy weather. GRACE is a good name for such a hard working little boat; it reminds us of my mom everyday; and it also is a reminder that the only way that a rascal like me is going to get to heaven, is in a dinghy named GRACE.
Vessel Name: Tiger Lilly
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 CSY44 walkover hull #55
Hailing Port: Green Cove Springs
Crew: Lilly and Tom Service
Lilly is a retired business woman, and was previously a professional athlete. As one of America's first professional female triathletes, she was a pioneer in woman's sports. [...]
Our kids: From 1987 to 1991 Tom circumnavigated the world with his family. Daughters Dawn and Jennifer were ages 11 & 13 when they departed on a 4 year, 40 country / island group, Trade Wind voyage around the world, and 15 & 17 when they returned to St. Petersburg, FL. During his high school [...]
Tiger Lilly's Photos - Main
Approximately 100 Asian elephants live in and around the Trincomalee Landfill in northeast Sri Lanka. These huge creatures eat plastic strewn trash and garbage because they have been driven back from their natural habitat by the encroachment of farms.
38 Photos
Created 24 September 2018
13 Photos
Created 17 January 2018
69 Photos
Created 22 November 2016
19 Photos
Created 22 November 2016
22 Photos
Created 22 November 2016
23 Photos
Created 22 November 2016
15 Photos
Created 28 September 2013
124 Photos | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 26 August 2010
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 23 August 2010
1 Photo | 8 Sub-Albums
Created 23 August 2010
4 Photos | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 23 August 2010