Richard G. Hendrickson, Who Recorded the Weather for 85 Years, Dies at 103
by Margalit Fox
Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stay Richard G. Hendrickson from the swift completion of his appointed rounds. For 85 years, they were his appointed rounds.
A retired poultry and dairy farmer who died on Jan. 9 at 103, Mr. Hendrickson was the nation’s longest-serving volunteer weather watcher. Twice a day, every day since he was 17, in brash weather and benign, he gathered the data from the small weather station on his property in Bridgehampton, N.Y., on the South Fork of Long Island.
Mr. Hendrickson was a member of the Cooperative Observer Program of what is now the National Weather Service. Established in 1890, the program entails a benevolent network of citizen spies, who serve as the eyes, ears and noses of the federal government as they record high and low temperatures, wind speed and direction, rainfall, snowfall and other statistics on the nation’s coasts, in the mountains, on the prairies and in between.
Their work underpins local and national weather reports, boating and aviation forecasts, flood and hurricane warnings, and emergency preparedness plans of all kinds and, of course, farming.