Years back, O'Hern befriended Richard "Red" Smith of Lake Placid, who shared stories of his adventures with the old hermit. Smith, a frequent guest of Rondeau's, had provided a home for the old hermit at Whispering Pines before he died in 1967. Smith was a well known, local woodsman and scoutmaster who passed away in 1993.
With Smith's passing, a major portion of the old hermit's legacy was lost. Such is the case with many of Rondeau's old friends, the Byrnes, Dittmars, Schaefers and others. While preserved newsreels and radio programs may offer further insights into Rondeau's life and times, they offer little in the way of the personality conveyed to friends. Even though the code has been broken, without first hand knowledge, the true personality of the old hermit will forever be encoded.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org