Peter L. Freund: The Amateur
L. Freund was a firefighter and a stargazer.
He built an observatory, a 10-by-10-foot wooden cube,
in his backyard in Westtown, N.Y., and would look at the
stars through a telescope mounted on a piece of sewer
pipe. In the summer his wife, Robin, would often join
"But there were some winter nights when I'd sit inside
with my woolens on," Mrs. Freund said, laughing. "I'd
say, `Take a picture of it, show me later.' "
When her husband wanted to see a major eclipse, she
was worried, though: one of the trees in the yard was
directly in front of the eclipse. "I thought I was going
to lose a pine tree," she said. But Mr. Freund spared
Mr. Freund, 45, a lieutenant with Engine Company 55 in
Little Italy, "always followed his own interests," said
Arne Francis, a high school classmate. He recalled that
Mr. Freund took up windsurfing in the early 1980's before
it was popular. He would vanish for hours at a time, Mr.
"I'd go, `Pete, where the hell were you?' He'd say, `I
was out by Buoy 20.' And I'd say, `Pete, there are ocean
liners and tankers that go by there. Be careful,' " Mr.
Francis said. "What he was into, he just put his whole