memories

Richard and I were childhood friends and rode bicycles around our small home town (Virginia, IL) and built our own miniature golf course in his backyard. In high school, we participated in sports, school plays and played pinochle; we ate at each other’s houses and double dated. We were always interested in the physical sciences and when we went off to college, I figured he would be a physicist. When I returned home in the summer of 1959, Richard was enthused about research going on at Duke University involving ESP. At his insistence we spent the early part of the summer doing ESP experiments designed by him. The experiments failed but I believe he was hooked on psychology from that point on. His family moved and we went our separate ways but we stayed in touch over the years, participating in each other’s marriage, and exchanging the occasional communication discussing family, interests, and research. I last saw Richard at our 50th high school reunion in June, 2008. Everyone was so pleased that he agreed to attend.  In the Class Biography most of us spoke fondly of retirement but not Richard who said “Not for a while. The work is too engaging to let go.” About three years ago I sent him a photo; the photo showed a group of us taking a break from waterskiing, sitting on a log eating watermelon. He seemed to take great pleasure in it and said he had shown it to Harvard colleagues. In spite of his success, Richard never really changed much in the way he dealt with his friends. Two measures of a person’s life is did that person make a difference and did they remain grounded. Richard certainly measured up.

Our condolences to Judith, children and grandchildren.

-J. Michael Riemann