Richard Rasmussen, an Integral Part of Our Community

Rich Rasmussen has deep roots in Palisades, arriving with his parents in 1965, when he was just two years old. He enjoyed his childhood, making friends first in his neighborhood and then all over Palisades. He was cutting lawns for neighbors from the time he was eight years old.

Rich graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas with a BA degree and decided to pursue a career in landscaping. In 1994 he officially started his own landscaping business, a natural for him because he liked working outside and had inherited his father’s and grandfather’s mechanical ability. Rich’s grandfather, Cornell Rasmussen, was the head of Building and Grounds at Lamont and was Rich’s best friend and teacher. Rich is also a friendly, sociable man who enjoys interacting with people.

His business, Personalized Landscaping, has been growing ever since. Rich now has customers in Palisades, Rockleigh, Piermont, Tappan and Sparkill. He maintains lawns, fertilizing and seeding them organically, prunes trees, delivers and installs mulch, cleans up wooded areas and storm debris, deals with tick control and gravel driveway installs and provides snow plowing after storms. He currently has 150 customers in Palisades whose lawns he mows weekly. He is busy all year round, working ten hours a day, and rarely takes vacations. But he enjoys his work and told me “Every day feels like Saturday.” He is currently working on a Palisades estate, overhauling their entire property with new soil, sod, landscape beds and driveway. He is happy to work with creative people, whether they are customers or designers.

Encountering wildlife can be an exciting part of the job. Rich has come across a few bears, as well as poisonous snakes, including rattlers and copperheads. Rich also has experience dealing with complicated situations. The blizzard of 1995 was his longest snow removal operation, taking over four days. Superstorm Sandy was also a challenge for him and all of Palisades.

Rich does work for many Palisades organizations, including the Palisades Free Library, the Presbyterian Church, the Palisades Cemetery, the Palisades-Sparkill baseball league, the American Legion, the Palisades Swim Club, Lamont-Doherty, the Palisades Community Center and Tallman Mountain State Park.

Rich’s family is also involved in his business. He married his wife Nancy in 1994 and they have three children: Becky, Erik and Scott. Nancy is a preschool teacher but on her days off she assists Becky with completing office work. Scott works with his father during the busy season in the summer and during snow removal. Erik is currently serving in the army for four years in Washington state.

Rich’s life, however, is not all work. The family likes to go boating on Sundays, sometimes on the Hudson River and sometimes to the ocean for fishing trips. And Rich is still learning. He takes horticultural classes at Rutgers and was reading some recent research about the spotted lantern fly defoliating the trees and methods of controlling it, just before I interviewed him.

We talked about his memories of people like Judy Tomkins, Arnold Finck and Kathleen Martine, remarkable old-timers he feels lucky to have known.

Any community is a web of relationships. We depend on Rich, and he depends on us. That's the way it used to be in most places, and we are lucky that it's still true here, and that Rich is the man he is.
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