Richard Haelig Hendrickson, 73, a lifelong resident of Bridgehampton who ran a bicycle repair business at his family’s farm on Lumber Lane for three decades, died last Thursday in the house where he had grown up and raised his children. He was with his family, as he had been in the final months of his two-year struggle with colon and liver cancer.
Described by his family as a sweet, quiet, reliable, and intelligent man who loved to tell stories and share his vast knowledge, Mr. Hendrickson was born on June 19, 1940, to Richard G. Hendrickson, a farmer, historian, collector, and United States Cooperative weather observer, and the former Dorothea Haelig, a teacher.
A reader who enjoyed science fiction and history of all kinds, Mr. Hendrickson attended the Bridgehampton School, Phillips Andover Academy, and Suffolk Community College, where he was one of the first to graduate with a 4.0 grade point average.
He later went on to Columbia University, where he studied history, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1968. As a member of Phi Beta Kappa, he worked on his master’s degree while being employed by the university as the director of dormitory security during the civil rights era, when Columbia became a frequent site of student demonstrations and sit-ins.
“Mr. Hendrickson was amused to relate that he was actually the person who opened the gates to allow police onto the campus,” wrote his family. “Little did he know what would ensue.”
On April 21,1971, he married the former Janet Beman inside their Manhattan apartment. The couple raised their three daughters in Bridgehampton, where Mr. Hendrickson later ran a bicycle repair business, the Bikeman, on Hill View Farm.
For over 30 years, he continued fixing bicycles and showing children how to repair their own bikes, his family said. The shop, with public radio and classical music on all day, was “a safe and educational space for local children to spend their free time,” his family wrote.
Mr. Hendrickson was a dedicated motorcycle owner and rider from the age of 17. He took annual motorcycle tours across New England, often accompanied by his wife or daughters. He was also a motor racing enthusiast, attending the Bridgehampton Race Circuit, and was a longtime follower of the Formula One circuit.
He is survived by his father, who is now 101, and his wife, Janet Hendrickson, and by his daughters, Rachel Haelig Hendrickson, Leah Rogers Hendrickson, and Sara Knight Hendrickson, all of Bridgehampton.
A brief graveside ceremony is planned for tomorrow at the Edgewood Cemetery in Bridgehampton beginning at 2 p.m. A memorial service will be held next month.
The family has suggested contributions to the Hampton Library, P.O. Box 3025, Bridgehampton 11932.
A tree will be planted in Mrs. Nagle’s honor on the campus of Miss Porter’s School, Ms. Tighe said.