William B. "Buck" Frisch, a retired McCormick & Co. executive who played a pivotal role in bringing the tall ships to Baltimore during the nation's bicentennial in 1976, died March 30 of multiple melanoma at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 79.
The son of a McCormick executive and a homemaker, William Buckley Frisch was born in Baltimore and raised in Pinehurst.
He was a 1951 graduate of Towson High School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1955 from Dartmouth College.
Mr. Frisch began his career at McCormick & Co. as a sales representative and later joined the sales administration team, where he worked in the cooperative advertising department, sales control and order procedures, field sales board and CakeMate acquisition.
In 1981, he was promoted to manager of human relations, where he introduced and championed a job-posting system. He also recruited for senior- and middle-management positions.
Mr. Frisch was a member of the board of Operation Sail in 1976 that brought a parade of tall ships to Baltimore from all over the world.
He remained active with the group and was chairman of its Op' Sail Host Committee, which welcomed the Danmark, a Danish training ship that had sailed into Baltimore in 1976, on a return visit in 1987.
"These ships like to come to Baltimore. We're a harbor where there's a lot less pressure than at some other ports, and we do a good job of welcoming these visitors," Mr. Frisch told The Evening Sun in an interview at the time.
"The funny thing is that he wasn't a sailor at all. He got involved because in those days, McCormick was on Light Street across from the Inner Harbor," said a son, Robert B. "Rob" Frisch, co-owner of the Mount Washington Tavern who lives in Upperco. "I remember we went on board the Danmark on its  voyage to Baltimore, and drinking aqua vitae with the captain."
He added: "One time, he was fortunate to sail on the original Pride of Baltimore from Baltimore to Newport, R.I., and cooked a lot of the meals for the crew after the chef got seasick."
Mr. Frisch was also a longtime volunteer at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
"He also was a proud member of Alcoholics Anonymous and had celebrated 13 years of sobriety in November 2012," said his wife of 56 years, the former Joanne Coyle.
Mr. Frisch was particularly proud of his grandchildren, and when they turned 12, he planned a birthday trip for them, family members said.
He was a collector of vintage Lionel O-gauge trains and had an extensive Christmas garden. "He had his original trains from his childhood, which he added to," Mrs. Frisch said.
Mr. Frisch, who had lived at the Blakehurst retirement community in Towson for the past year, was also an avid flower gardener. When he was younger, he had an extensive vegetable garden at his Cockeysville home.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. April 13 at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 5603 N. Charles St.
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Frisch is survived by another son, John B. Frisch of Phoenix, in Baltimore County, and five grandchildren.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun