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Ron Hartman’s Memorial

Ron Hartman’s Memorial
A memorial held at Mt. San Antonio College celebrates the life of Ron Hartman

To celebrate his life, Ron’s former co-workers at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt.SAC) helped his family organize a memorial that brought them together with his friends, former students and colleagues in astronomy and meteorite-related fields, to share recollections and join together in a celebration of his career and life.

This article follows a shorter announcement in the September issue of Meteorite-Times Magazine, as well as, a more personal tribute to my friend and colleague in the October issue of the same publication.
This article appears in the July 2012 issue of Meteorite-Times Magazine.

The memorial for Ron was held on March 29, 2012. It was held on a Thursday, so the reception started at 5:30PM in the lobby of the Randall Planetarium on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College (Mt.SAC) in Walnut, California.

By the time Monika Waiblinger and I arrived at the reception, we found the lobby full of invitees and everyone was engaged in conversation. With a quick glance around I was able to spot a few faces that I could recognize as being from the “meteorite community”, but it was clear that we were in the minority. We are greeted by John Kashuba, a fellow writer for Meteorite-Times Magazine. And in short order he introduces Moni and me to Dorothy Norton, which is only appropriate, because it was through Dorothy that I got my invitation. Moni had never met Dorothy, but no sooner had I finished introducing Moni, I was being pulled-over to another group of people by Dorothy. She said, “I have here, someone that you will want to meet.” And she was right. Because in the middle of that introduction, I realized that I was shaking hands with Ron Oriti, the legendary classmate and colleague of Ron Hartman and Richard O. Norton, as well as, the co-finder with Ron of the Lucerne Valley Meteorites. I tried my best to explain to Mr. Oriti that it was through his exhibits at the (old) Griffith Observatory that I taught myself how to identify a meteorite. But in the end, I’m still not sure that he realized that I was the person responsible for having his Lucerne Valley Meteorites renamed to LV 002 (LL4) and LV 003 (H6). Luckily, I had several more conversations with Ron during the course of the evening. Each time they would start by Ron coming up to me and saying, “Have you heard the story about me and Ron and Richard…?” And each time I would wish that I had a tape recorder as Ron would recount another story that I had never heard before. But those stories will have to be the subject of another article.

As part of the reception everyone was served ice cream by the Mt.SAC staff. This refreshment was an intentional homage to Ron Hartman, who had a penchant for treating the department staff to ice cream at the local Baskin & Robbins. Many a staff meeting was conducted in the setting of an “ice cream social”.

I was glad that the reception lasted as long as it did, because it took me quite a while to make my way around and introduce myself to all of the family members, not to mention the Mt.SAC staff in attendance. After the reception, we all took a seat in the Planetarium and were treated to a special show.

The following images are photos that were taken at the reception by Dorothy Norton, John Kashuba, and this author.


The official invitation to the memorial held at the Planetarium. (Click on image to enlarge.)



Julie Bray-Ali, a colleague of Ron Hartman at Mt. San Antonio College, helped the family make arrangements for the reception to be held at the Planetarium. Photo by Dorothy Norton. (Click on image to enlarge.)



Dr. Larry Redinger, Dean of Natural Sciences at Mt. SAC, points to a plaque commemorating Ron’s 38-year teaching and planetarium career. Photo by Dorothy Norton. (Click on image to enlarge.)



Jeff Schroeder, a former student of Ron Hartman, pays his respects to Ron’s wife, Petrea, at the reception. Photo by Dorothy Norton (Click on image to enlarge.)


Moni Waiblinger and I, pay our respects to Ron’s wife, Petrea. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman’s son, Jim Hartman, with Susan Reeder at the memorial. Photo by John Kashuba. (Click on image to enlarge.)


John Kashuba, Dorothy Norton, and Ron Oriti. These are the first people that Moni and I met on entering the Reception. Photo probably taken by me, but definitely taken with Kashuba’s camera. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Oriti holds forth, while this author, Moni, and John Kashuba listen intently. I finally get to meet Ron Hartman’s and Richard Norton’s colleague and classmate from UCLA. Ron Oriti, is one of the original “3 Musketeers” and last remaining protégées of Frederick Leonard. Photo by Dorothy Norton. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Dorothy Norton (center), Ron Oriti (on left) and I at the Reception. Photo by Moni Waiblinger. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Bob Jackson, Moni Waiblinger and John Kashuba (left to right) at the reception. (Click on image to enlarge.)


After the Reception, everyone entered the James and Eleanor Randall Planetarium for a “special show” presented as a live narration by Julie Bray-Ali. (Click on image to enlarge.)

After the Planetarium show, the lights were kept low and everyone remain seated as the next segment of the Memorial commenced. This portion was titled, “Messages from family and friends”. And as the title states, a variety of people came forward to speak about Ron, to include not only colleagues and co-workers at the College, but also friends and former students, as well as, close relatives.

I am glad that I was able to attend this Memorial for Ron Hartman, because I was able to learn a lot more about this man that I consider to be my mentor. I learned from his friends at the Memorial that, outside of his many duties at the College, he was also considered an expert on archeo-astronomy, to include having conducted fieldwork in Egypt. I learned from former students that Ron’s influence resulted in them having carriers as assistant planetarium directors and as planetary engineers with NASA. What I learned from his co-workers only confirmed what I had already known, that Ron had more than succeeded at carrying forward the torch that had been handed to him by his UCLA professor, Frederick Leonard.

And finally, what I learned from his family about Ron the man, as a brother, as a husband, and as a father, was even that more special to me. I very much appreciated seeing the “old” family photos of Ron, which were displayed by his brother, Chris Hartman.
I’ve tried to reproduce many of them in this article (see below).

The following images are from photos that were taken inside the Planetarium, after the show, by Dorothy Norton and this author:


After the show, “messages from family and friends” were presented. Jeff Schroeder gives his personal eulogy. Jeff was a former student and was greatly inspired by Ron Hartman. He was also the assistant at the planetarium for many years. Jeff now works at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Photo by Dorothy Norton. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron’s son, Ricky, recounts family life in the Hartman household.


Ron’s younger brother, Chris Hartman, displays a poster of “old family photos” after the special planetarium show, and reminisces about Ron’s early days in astronomy. (Some of these photos are shown below) Photo by Dorothy Norton. (Click on image to enlarge.)

The following images are of photos that were brought to be shared with everyone at the Memorial by Chris Hartman and other family members:


Ron Hartman (probably 12 years old) on a family outing in the San Gabriel Mountains. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman (1948) looking pensive while reclining in the front-yard of the family residence. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman (1952) with his homemade telescope and spare parts. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman (1955) with his younger brother, Chris, while working on a telescope. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman (circa 1967) in his new Planetarium at Mt.SAC. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Meteorites (collected by Ron) on display in the lobby of the Planetarium at Mt.SAC (circa 1980’s). Click on image to enlarge.


Ron Hartman (March 30, 1999) – very rare photos of him searching for meteorites at Lucerne Dry Lake. Photos by Jeff Schroeder. (Click on image to enlarge.)


Ron Hartman (June 1999) – in front of that same display case depicted in Chris Hartman’s earlier photo in the lobby of the Planetarium at Mt.SAC. (Image by Bob Verish.)


Ron Hartman (2003) with the “Spitz projector” – from a photo on the front page of a local newspaper. Eventually the Planetarium was refurbished through a generous donation from The Randall Foundation. (Click on image to enlarge.)


The following obituary appeared on the Meteoritical Society website “Newsletter“:


Latest News – from Council Newsletter – 20 Sep, 2011
Ronald N. Hartman (July 23, 1935 – August 30, 2011)
Ronald N. Hartman passed away on August 30, 2011, after a brief illness. He was a Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Planetarium at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California for 38 years and was well-known in the community of meteorite collectors and hunters. His passion for meteorites was kindled when he studied astronomy at the University of California, Los Angeles under the renowned meteoriticist Frederick C. Leonard, a founder of the Meteoritical Society. He worked at Griffith Observatory giving public lectures in the 1960s and began investigating California dry lakes for the presence of meteorites. He discovered the Lucerne Dry Lake strewn field in 1963 and returned to that site in 1999 to find more of the illusive little black rocks from space. Throughout his career he continued to hunt for meteorites, first at Meteor Crater, Arizona (when it was legal) and Odessa, Texas. He found, traded, bought, cut and sold meteorites as well as tektites and shatter cones and built up a large collection, part of which is displayed at the Mt. San Antonio College Planetarium and library. Ron was the oldest son of Albert and Evelyn Hartman. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 23, 1935, and moved to California at the age of 10. In 1965 he married Petrea Nelson of Reno, Nevada. He is survived by his wife and two sons, James and Rick Hartman, his brother Chris Hartman, a nephew Christopher Hartman and niece Laurel Meable.

More info here: More about Lucerne Valley Meteorites first found by Ron Hartman on Lucerne Dry Lake.

“Click here to go to the original “news-list“.

Ron Hartman – born: 1935 July 23rd — died: 2011 Aug 30th
Dedicated to Ron Hartman, for a life well lived and carried forward in the hearts of those he touched.

Posted originally on 2012/07/07 | by Robert Verish

Please add your Comments below.

I would like to thank Dorothy Norton and John Kashuba, particularly for the use of their images, as well as to Nick Gessler, for their help with this article.



Bob’s Findings Article for September 2011 – Dedication: Ron Hartman – 1935-2011

Click here to go to “ A Tribute to Ron Hartman” – an extension of this Bob’s Findings Article for September 2011 – to see an on-going compilation of links regarding the life and passing of Ron Hartman.

Bob’s Findings Article for October 2011 – in Meteorite Times Magazine: Ron Hartman and the Lucerne Valley Meteorites

Ronald N. Hartman Obituary: View Ronald Hartman’s Obituary by …
Ronald Hartman’s life story, offer tributes/condolences, send flowers or create … Walnut, California for 38 years and was well-known in the community of meteorite collectors and hunters …


Ronald N. Hartman (July 23, 1935 – August 30, 2011) was a professor of astronomy and the … Throughout his career he continued his search for meteorites at locations such as Meteor Crater, Arizona and Odessa Meteor Crater, Ector County, Texas …
Bernd Pauli pays his respects on the Meteorite-List website (Click on image to link to the original website.)



Ron Hartman’s “People” interview on the Meteorite-Times Magazine website (Click on image to link to the original website.)


Ron Hartman with one of his pet miniature goats on the IMCA website (Click on image to link to the original website.)



Ron Hartman on the IMCA website (Click on image to link to the original website.)


Copyright©Michael Blood 2005

Ron Hartman relaxes after a meal from Michael Blood’s website. (Click on image to link to the original website.)



Ron Hartman, as depicted on the Michael Blood website (Click on image to link to the original website.)



Copyright©Doug Ross 2011

Ron Hartman with Doug Ross at the meteorite display case in the Mt.SAC Library (one of the last images taken of Ron).

Search results for internet references to Ron Hartman:IMCA co-founder
Ron’s website
Lucerne Valley Meteorite

My previous articles can be found *HERE*

For for more information, please contact me by email: Bolide*chaser


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