After decades of launching satellites into orbit, Ernest Robertson has safely landed into earthbound retirement in Mountain View, CA, his home for 42 years and more recently the home of many well-known tech companies.
With degrees in electrical engineering from MIT, Ernest spent most of his career in the aerospace industry with COMSAT and then Space Systems/Loral, from which he retired in June 2018. He traveled frequently for satellite launches in Florida and French Guiana, where the notorious Devil’s Island penal colony, closed in 1953, lies under the trajectory of the rockets.
Ernest has been a generous donor to AICR for many years. He has recently been taking advantage of incentives to give generously to AICR from his Individual Retirement Account (IRA), while greatly reducing his tax burden.
Because he is over 70 ½, the IRS requires that Ernest withdraw at least a portion (the “Required Minimum Distribution,” or RMD) each year from his IRA. While the RMD is fully taxable, any donations he makes from it to AICR reduce his income for tax purposes. This allows Ernest to satisfy his entire RMD, yet owe taxes on just the amount he keeps for living expenses.
Cancer has fortunately never affected Ernest’s family, though several friends have suffered from it. His wife Betty Joanne died in 2009 from unrelated causes. He has two adult sons, one of whom is the executive chef at his own restaurant in Portland, Oregon, the other of whom works for a tech firm in Silicon Valley.
Ernest runs on the treadmill at his local Y for 35 minutes every day, and works out every other day on ten different machines. He also enjoys traveling and hiking in California’s scenic mountains.
He lauds AICR’s focus on cancer research and education. “What you are doing is good,” he says, particularly our focus on prevention: “part eating, part exercise, and part keeping a healthy weight.”
Thank you, Ernest, for sharing your story and for all your generous support of AICR!