At Nott Terrace High School in Schenectady, N.Y., he was active in publications, dramatics, and band. He was curious, independent, ingenious, and relentlessly enthusiastic — “all sail and no anchor,” according to his high school yearbook. His myriad of interests included photography, sailing, astronomy, ham radio, classical music, and woodworking.
At Princeton, he majored in physics, joined Terrace Club, and was a photographer for The Daily Princetonian and Princeton Alumni Weekly.
Dick married Betty Gordon in August 1954, enrolled in the University of Rochester, and earned a Ph.D. in optics in 1959.
During a multifaceted career with several corporations large and small, he contributed to the Apollo space program, headed the team that designed the optics for the innovative Polaroid SX-70 folding single-lens reflex camera, contributed importantly to the design of the optics of the Chandra X-ray observatory — NASA’s mission for X-ray astronomy — and eventually ran a successful one-person consulting firm for 17 years.
Dick and Betty met in high school, had their first date on a sailboat, and were inseparable at sea and ashore. Throughout his career they sailed the coast of Maine in a series of boats until moving to Iowa to live near family in 2008.
Dick is survived by Betty, sons Dan and Geoff, daughter Liz, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.