Perhaps Ron Comer should have been an astronaut instead of an insurance executive. Pursuits that shifted conventional perspective drew him, but if he lacked a view from space, he did get to take Earth's measure from above the clouds and below the waves.
His wife, Cindy, whose first flight was with him at the controls of a Cessna when they were college students, suspected that her solitude-seeking husband flew because "only birds can be up there, not people."
Not many people in the deep, either. On a scuba vacation in Mexico in February, Mr. Comer, 56, who worked at Marsh & McLennan, descended to a watery limestone otherworld the Mayans called a cenote, essentially viewing the planet from within. He told his wife it was "the dive of a lifetime."
Not all his experiments were so satisfying. He had a habit of rearranging shrubs and trees in the garden when he decided that a plant needed to be over here, say, instead of over there. Mrs. Comer had teased, "I can't go to church without coming back and a bush is gone, a tree is gone."
A favorite perspective was from the village dock at home in Northport, on Long Island, even after his daughters, Kate, 26, and Lauren, 23, no longer played in the park there. He would gaze at the birds and the boats, the water and the horizon. Mrs. Comer plans to put a bench there in his memory.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 6, 2001.