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From Jeff Whisenant...
Funny Story about Mr. Rich and the 10 inch scope

While going through my old emails, I came across this message from Jimmy Cresimore about O. N. Rich and the adventures of the 10" scope before it made it to Maiden. Check it out

I joined Raleigh Amateur Astronomers in 1967. At the
time I was 10 years of age but was avidly interested
in astronomy. For the next 6 years of my life I worked
with Mr Rich and often used the 10" reflector
described in your website. One time I remember
particularly well was when Mr Rich and I took the 10"
down to Greenville for the total eclipse of March 7,
1970. I set up projection facilities for the members
of the media to use for the television feeds. Mr Rich
was setting up a camera on the reflector and initially
used a camera with a paper shutter. I happened to be
standing about 15 feet away being interviewed by one
of the television networks when the paper shutter
burned through. Imagine the surprise of the reporter
who was interviewing me when all of a sudden during my
interview my windbreaker burst into flames while on
live television due to the fact that I was in a direct
line with the focal point of the diagonal of the
scope. At the same moment smoke from the burning
shutter began pouring out of the front of the
reflector (which bore a striking resemblance to a
cannon to begin with, due to its unusual equatorial
mount). I often wish I had that clip to send into
America's Funniest Videos.

Mr Rich's primary vocation at the time was a cabinet
maker and because of an accident while building a
project had lost several fingers. Thus it fell upon me
to grind a lot of the optics for our scopes. This
included the clubs main telescope ... the 16"
Newtonian/Cassegrain in our observatory on the roof of
the Armory at NC State. The 10" Newtonian had been our
primary telescope before the completion of the 16" and
the 10" had been totally built by Mr Rich shortly
before I joined the club. I still fondly remember the
many nights that Mr Rich and I used the 10" before the
completion of the larger scope and observatory. It was
quite a unique scope and I especially marveled at that
unique equatorial mount.

In 1969 I became president of Raleigh Amateur
Astronomers although at the time the club basically
consisted of Mr Rich and myself. I often thought that
I became president of the club due to the humor that
Mr Rich found in introducing a 12 year old kid as the
president of the club.

The last time I saw Mr Rich was also memorable as I
had read his obituary in the News and Observer several
months before. I was thus quite shocked to run into
him in the grocery store several months after his
reported death and funeral. I'll never forget the
resulting conversation as I told him about how I had
read about his death in the obituary column and was
shocked to see him out buying groceries. True to his
straight forward and no-nonsense style he simply
replied that he wasn't dead and that the newspaper had
"gotten it all wrong". That was Mr Rich ... everything
about the man was unusual ... and what a brilliant
mind.


Jimmy Cresimore