This tribute was delivered by Tudor Richards’s younger brother on March 21, 2009, at Phillips Church on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.

First of all, I need to say a word about where I find myself today. Wendy and I spent our working lives—forty of them—on the other Phillips campus, so to be celebrating my brother’s life in this handsome church on this Phillips campus (the younger of the two, I should add) is a special privilege.

Second, I need to identify myself. My birth certificate reads “John Richards”, and I’ve always been known as “Jack”. But when I was growing up in Groton, Massachusetts, there was a neighbor who had yet another name for me. To Johnny Sabine, I was “Tudor Junior.” I guess that was because I resembled the youngest of my three older brothers—dark-haired, tall and skinny—and it’s a name I’ve always secretly cherished.

In those days, seven decades ago, I actually didn’t see much of that older brother, as he was away at college, then serving his country as a naval aviator, but Johnny Sabine was more perceptive than I suspect he realized, for Toots, as his siblings knew him, was not only an older brother; he was my hero. I reveled in tales of his exploits on the track at Harvard, along with his teammates Axel Northrop and Jim Lightbody, and later, as I developed my own fondness for airplanes and aviation, I followed his career across the Pacific on the U.S.S. Hornet, gushing with pride upon learning that he had scored a direct hit on the huge Japanese battleship, “Yamato”. And to this day I remember our parents reading a letter in which Toots spoke of seeing a “huge ice-cream cone”, his coded term for Mt. Fuji in Japan. I still have on my study wall in Sunapee a print of Bill Draper’s famous painting of the flight deck of the “Hornet”, with a group of SB2C “Helldivers” waiting to take off, and on the shelf beside it an empty 40mm shell case Toots brought back as a souvenir when the war ended.

He was my role model, and in retrospect I suspect it was no coincidence that I eventually became a runner and a pilot too—but I hasten to add that my exploits in the air were far less heroic than his. I won no Distinguished Flying Crosses or Air Medals, and I thank my lucky stars that I never had to land an airplane on the pitching, rolling deck of an aircraft carrier, or risk a Kamikaze attack, as he did.

Other memories from long ago remain clear. The first may seem unlikely, as most people knew Tudor as an outdoorsy individual, but he was responsible for my first evening outing in a big city, as he took me bowling in Boston, then out for dinner at Durgin Park, both an eye-opening experience for this very naïve youngster from the country.

But other memories are probably more typical. Early on, a canoeing expedition to Pittsburg, New Hampshire, with bird-watching in Scott Bog, my first exposure to the northernmost part of the state. And that most memorable occasion in August, 1946, when brother Ham and sister Nan introduced me to Mt. Washington, my first of New Hampshire’s 4000-footers, and we three were met near the top by brother Tudor, peering down at us through his omnipresent binoculars from the top of the headwall—that was the summer he worked on trails for the Forest Service. I never did that, but I think I owe my fondness for the White Mountains and its trails to that guy with the binoculars.

I’m not the person to talk about Tudor’s ornithological life, impressed as I have always been with that life. While I enjoy birds (and frogs), I have to admit that this is one area in which I failed my role model. But I’ll end with two stories, both involving birds. A few years ago, when Toots and B. were visiting us in Florida, we took them to nearby Corkscrew Swamp, where Tudor spoke of his particular hope of seeing a swallow-tailed kite. Well, not only did we spot a kite, but way up in a tall cypress, his keen eye and handy Zeiss spotted a kite on a nest, which, to my great satisfaction, Tudor allowed to be worth the whole trip to Florida!

The second story involves birds, too, but possibly—just possibly—more as well. Just over two weeks ago, in the early evening of Friday March 6, Wendy, Laura and I were sitting on our Florida lawn, watching the daily migration of local wading birds, as they crossed the sky from south to north, heading to their sleeping quarters. We had counted several hundred herons, egrets, and ibises, mostly in large flocks; then, after several minutes passed, about six o’clock, low-down, just above the water of the lake in front of us, flew a single Great Blue, majestic as always, gradually disappearing in the darkening skies.