Re: Richard Hendrickson

Jeff English

I recieved the grim news several days ago, but only now am I sufficiently over the shock to put fingers to keyboard.  I probably first met Richard in the mid-80s, when we started having RPM as a side show to NMRA national conventions; outside of freight cars, our mutual interest was
sports cars about which we shared many stories over drinks.  Dennis Storzek mentioned the old FCPN round-robin newsletter, which we at the RPI club joined as a result of being invited in by Richard.


Later in the 90s, when I started to realize that nobody was giving presentations on NYC box cars and that perhaps it was up to me to tackle the subject, my initial research was giving me the realization that there are really very few phtoos of such a prosaic subject.  There were lots of gaping holes, with questions to be answered.  So I asked Richard if I could review his photo collection to see what he had.  Now mind you, this was asking for him to lug several thick binders from the west coast to Naperville, but he happily did it and we spent several hours in his hotel room discussing NYC box cars.  Among other things I learned were several new (to me) photo sources; Tom Martorano is one that comes to mind.


The last couple of years in a row at Naperville/Lisle, Richard said to me something like, "It's really good to see you again", with a genuineness that made me feel that he really meant it.  It impressed me enough that it has stuck with me, and it had already crossed my mind this summer that perhaps this giant of our hobby would bestow his personal endorsement on me once again this fall, but now it is not to be.


I forget who originally said that we stand on the shoulders of giants, but it could not be more true in the case of Richard Hendrickson.


One final anecdote to illustrate the breadth of impact he had: my wife had only met Richard a handful of times, but one of those was the Friends of the Freight Car dinner at the 1996 NMRA convention in Long Beach.  This event was organized by Richard (and Tony) at a restaurant that served up a meal family style, and the whole event was a delight for Lorraine (who otherwise finds model railroad conventions uninteresting).  She raves about it to this day, and when I shared the sad news she remembered Richard clearly and what a gracious host he was, even 18 years after the fact.


Jeff English

Troy, New York

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