Richard W. Rhyins

Richard Rhyins, longtime resident of Ridgefield who kept a keen eye on town spending activities as a member of the Ridgefield Board of Finance from 1968-1975, died of cancer on Dec 14 at age 84 at Danbury Hospital. 
Richard William Rhyins was born on January 6, 1926 to Sarah and Stephen Rhyins in Port Chester, NY where he attended high school and graduated second in his class in 1944. He was then drafted in the US Army and served through WWII in the Signal Corps as a radioman and Technical Sergeant in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska decoding Japanese radio messages until the war ended in 1945. In 1946 using the GI bill, he attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where graduated with a degree in Physics in 1950. He continued his education at Notre Dame University from 1950-1952 where he was also an Associate Professor of Physics, and furthered his education at MIT in Cambridge, Mass from 1955 to 1957.
 Mr Rhyins had a long and illustrious career a physicist and optical engineer, working well into his 70’s, having contributed to many engineering and military programs and holder of several patents.  His love of mathematics and problem solving were his most cherished skills, which surfaced throughout his life. He began his career with General Precision Labs, White Plains, NY in 1952, where he met Mari Ethelyn ‘Lynn’ Dirkes, a Research Librarian, his wife of 47 years who passed away in 1999. He moved to Ridgefield in 1958 and took a job with Barnes Engineering, a company that began in the St Stevens Episcopal Church hall building on Main St, then moved to Stanford, CT where he worked until 1965 when he took a job as a Senior Staff Scientist with the Perkin-Elmer Corp of Norwalk, CT designing precision optics, then in 1970 with Laser Optics in Danbury, CT designing custom laser components. In 1971 he ventured on his own as an independent Optical Physicist and Consultant developing many innovative products including the Facsimile machine with Pitney-Bowes, Solar Telescope with Perkin-Elmer Corp,  Laser surveying equipment with Texas Instruments, US Military fighter pilot’s helmet mounted display, dental filling cure using ultraviolet light, to name just a few of his many accomplishments. He also held a Chief Scientist position at Space Sciences in Westchester, NY from 1990 to 1998 when he retired.
He was an avid skier, learning the sport in the Army while stationed in Alaska, and continued it in college at RPI where he was a member of the ski team, and took on such slopes as Mt Washington’s Tuckerman’s Ravine and Mt  Greylock’s Thunderbolt trail , and took the term ‘extreme skiing’ to the extreme. He loved the sport, and was known to hit the slopes of Stowe or Killington, VT at age 80. He enjoyed the outdoors and frequently hiked the Connecticut trails.
My Rhyins’ vivacious personality was known by many Ridgefielders, who may recall him cycling down Main St or taking a swim at Great Pond.
He is survived by his sister Dorothy Colosanto and husband Artie of Ryebrook, NY, and his eight children and 11 grandchildren, including William Rhyins of NYC and daughter Johanna and two sons Bradley and Collin; Peter Rhyins of Prosper, TX and his son Alex; Andrea Rhyins and her husband Rick Barham of San Anselmo, CA and their son Matthew; Richard J. Rhyins of Newtown, CT and his two daughters Nina and Sophia; Jacqueline Shannon and her husband Mark of Knoxville, TN and their two daughters Hailey and Collette; Gregory Rhyins and his wife Lorna of Brookfield, CT and their son Stephen and daughter Julia; Maryellen Rhyins of Oakland, CA; and Sarah Rhyins of San Francisco, CA.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday at 10:15 am in St. Mary Church, Ridgefield with the Rev. Russell Augustine, parochial vicar officiating.
Burial will take place in St. Mary Cemetery at the direction of the family.
The family will receive friends in the Kane Funeral Home, 25 Catoonah St., Ridgefield on Friday, December 17th, 2010 from 5PM to 8PM.

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Jowdy Kane and Kane Funeral Homes