In talking recently with boxing man Rich Ormsbee, from Reading, Pennsylvania, it was sad to hear his wife Lynn, of 62 years, passed away the month before. He is one of the finest human beings I have ever met in or out of boxing and a very humble individual.
Ormsbee informed me he was put into the Bowling HOF in Reading in 2018 in his fourth try due to the presidents dislike it took that long. As soon as a new president Albert Blough went in he was inducted. He had a successful business in Reading selling bowling equipment and trophies for years.
Some of the boxers Ormsbee trained at one time or another were Bobby Heath, WBA Super Middle champ Steve “Lightning” Little, Lenny Bainbridge, Scott “Little Red” Derr, Craig Tomlinson, Jimmy Rivera, Jimmy Ruoff, Al “Bubblegum” Sheriff, Ray “Rambo” Rivera, Israel Ponce and Todd “The Wight Knight” Englehart.
In recent years Ormsbee was in former IBF Welterweight champion Kermit Cintron’s corner as a cut-man. He refused being nominated for the PAB HOF by me being a member of the PAB HOF committee. That’s the kind of man he is. His nephew is PAB HOF inductee Marshall Kauffman, promoter of Kings Promotions out of Reading, who he trained in the amateurs.
“Uncle Rich is who I learned a lot from in terms of training boxers. He taught me how to box and I taught so many others and if it wasn’t for him I would not have done the things I have done in boxing,” said Kauffman.
Dave Ruff is a writer who was an amateur boxer with some 72 fights and knew Ormsbee well. “He’s always been a great friend. He and my dad got along great over the years. He would help me and my dad in the corner. I have a longtime friend in Rich. He’s just a big hearted guy and I love him,” said Dave Ruff.
Ormsbee also boxed in the amateurs from age 10 to 16 and is one of those unsung heroes in boxing with his dedication toward the sport. He fought every Tuesday at a recreation center. He got to the point he couldn’t get anyone to fight him. He started regular amateur at 16, and had about 30 all told. Carmen Graziano tried to get him to turn pro but he declined.
Writer Jeff Jowett of “Seconds Out” had this to say: He always seemed like the calm in the middle of the storm. While these local promotions are the foundation of boxing and in our area have been almost universally good, one has to wonder sometimes how many of them got off the ground. Guys who kept their heads about them, I suppose are the key.
Ormsbee’s RBA Gym (Reading Boxing Association Gym) was formed. He bought an old bakery truck and bought a Ringside ring for $1,000 on the phone and got there and got it for $500. In 1962 got involved with Ray Kline turning him pro in his one and only fight with a win.
Ormsbee promoted half a dozen amateur shows called Reading Boxing. “I started boxing at age 8 and Uncle Rich was my trainer. Would you believe I bought his house in Reading several years ago when he was moving,” said Jimmy Rivera.
Pennsylvania top judge Bernard Bruni: I first met Rich in 1990 when he was working with Reading Boxing Club and renting rings. He was always a gentleman and worked very hard at his craft. He was passionate about boxing and his trophy business. He always talked about his family which was very important to him. I’ve not seen Rich for several years. He was and still is a good friend. It’s sad about his wife passing. I’ll keep her and his entire family in my prayers. He treated all of us as if we were his nephews. This is why most of us call him Uncle Rich. Uncle Rich never sugar coated any of the fighters he worked with. He tells you straight forward. He is one of the better cut man’s in the business. He just never got the opportunity to work with some of the better known fighters but he was really good. I’ve seen him stop really bad cuts that probably well-known cut men couldn’t stop. He was very good and being smooth about it in the corner when one of us had a cut, he never panicked or made one of us fighters worry or he just knew how to play it off or let us know how we were cut or such. Outside of boxing he is a family man who just loves his kids/grandkids and wife. He is very kind and selfless. GREAT GREAT bowler too. Never got to bowl with him but was well known for his game in bowling. Rich will always be Uncle Rich to many of us.
Barry Stumpf, 6x amateur HOF trainer, Lancaster, PA: Rich and I were very close and one of the first guys I met in boxing. He gave discounts on trophies for my boxers.
Kermit Cintron former IBF Welterweight champion: When I first met Rich it was back in 1999. At the time he was involved with the sport of boxing. I have to say, he is the only man that never took a penny from me. He was a cut man for many fighters in the Reading area.
Ormsbee’s oldest daughter is Terre and youngest Tracy who has two kids. His great granddaughter who is 17 got Lynn Ormsbee’s car after her passing. “She will get it on Christmas as a surprise,” said Ormsbee.
Now 83, Ormsbee at 55 had colon cancer and lost 18 and then 10 inches of his Colon. “I asked my doctor why am I still alive?” He said he doesn’t know. He’s now 83.
Being as humble as he is I was adding some info talking him on the phone and he asked “you are not writing this down are you?” I said “no!” Little did he know!