by John Jerry Robertson
Jan 1933 - 2021
I was born 9 Jan 1933 to Newton A and Jessye Saye Robertson in Greenville, TX. This was the time of the great depression that lasted until 1942 when World War 2 began providing work for a sick economy. My parents were lucky to have jobs during the bad times when large numbers of people commonly went hungry. We all grew up eating lots of pinto beans and cornbread - a meal I still enjoy. In 1938, my dad received an inheritance that allowed him to buy a 60-acre cotton-corn farm 3 miles east of Greenville. So, I grew up around work horses, chickens, a milking cow, a brood sow, and a large vegetable garden. My Dad farmed his 60 acres and 40 acres leased land. He was, with assistance from the Government, able to get a tractor in 1942 and by age 12, I had learned how to drive a tractor - fun at first but turned into work. The main thing to be learned when living on a farm like ours was how to work. One of the daily chores I was handed at age 12 was to milk our cow every morning at the break of dawn. I loved the milk cow, but things got tense when - on a cold morning - she wouldn't let her milk "down". I found that 'taping' her in the back with the milk stool helped her decide to release the milk. As I grew into my teens I became convinced that I was not going to be a farmer. I, finally, on one occasion, got up my nerve and told my dad my thoughts about the farm life. He listened to me until I finished then he said "someday, maybe you'll get smart enough to appreciate what I'm teaching you to do - at least I hope so. If not, you won't find life to be very nice." He was telling the truth - later in life I learned that he was a good teacher. I look around now - 80 + years later and see lots of youngsters that could use some lessons about honest hard work. I graduated GHS in 1949 and attended a small college (now it is Texas A&M-Commerce) for l year. Since I had not decided on a career path, I left college to work (and party) in Dallas, Everything was merry until 1951 when the war in Korea got red hot and a HS friend came home from the war in a coffin. The US Army draft had been installed and it became painfully known to my best friend and I that if we didn't do something we would wind up in the Army on the battle grounds of Korea. So, cowardly, my friend and I decided to join the US Navy. The US Navy was a blessing from God for me in that it taught me discipline that you cannot learn any other way. The old Chief Petty Officers - who were vets of WW2 - were masters of punishment if you made them angry. Also, it got me into working in electronics - I became an aviation electronics technician. My love affair with electronics lasted from 1952 to 2014 when I retired at age 81. After boot camp and electronics training, I was sent to a Patrol Squadron of 12 large (76,000 lbs) seaplanes that worked 6 months in the Philippines and 6 months in San Diego, CA. I was put in a flight crew with 3 other techs who operated a large search radar and other equipment. I could write a book about the years in the Navy and the perils of huge flying boats. We spent some perilous nights flying 5 miles off the coast of China doing work still classified by the Navy. At the time, it was feared that China was going to invade Formosa (now named Taiwan). This remains a problem as of 2020. I got out of the Navy in 1956, came home to Greenville - met Miss Luan Cooper and married her in July 1956. Our first child - Ann was born in 1957 and her sister Kerry was born in 1960. After Ann's birth, we moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M where I graduated with a degree in electronics engineering in 1960. I got a great job after graduating from A&M with Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey. While at the Labs, I was able to attend New York University with campus in Manhattan and at the Labs. The move from College Station, TX (pop 25,000) to metro New York City (pop 7,000,000) was a shock to say the least. Somehow we adapted and I got the Master of EE degree in 1962. In 1963, I got an opportunity to join Motorola in Phoenix in the startup of a new business - the field of integrated circuits. This was the beginning of one of the biggest industries in world history - the Semiconductor business. So, we moved to Phoenix in 1963 and I worked in semiconductors for the next 30 years. Most of my employment time was spent with 3 large companies: Motorola, Texas Instruments, and National Semiconductor. After 30 years, in semi-retirement, I got a chance to join Sverdrup in consulting for the US Air Force at Eglin AFB in Florida. I worked both as a consultant and a federal employee for 21 years in the greatest state of all: Florida. My personal life changed during the 1970's when Luan and I divorced in 1972, and I remarried Beverly Ann Mayer in 1973. 'Bev' had 3 children, Shelly, Scott, and Barry by previous marriage, and our marriage continued for 44 years until Bev's death at age 86 in 2017. The family of our 5 children grew during the years to a current total of 25 children/in-laws, grand children/inlaws, and includes 6 great grandsons. All have done well, are in good health, and are prosperous good citizens - thanks be to Almighty God. Returning to employment, the most enjoyable years in electronics was the period 1993 to 2014 when I worked for the US Air Force on smart weapon armaments. The work was strictly technical and the specialty devices I "grew up" with were very widely being used in weapon design. The field of micro-processors was my specialty and they are now found to be one of the most usable of devices in weaponry as well as usage in all the things that are now being done with personal computers and telephones. I can say with certainty that the past 60 years in electronics have been the most revolutionary in totality than any other period in time.
The last topic to relate is the walk I have had with Jesus Christ, which - as I see now in old age - was the most important part of my life on this earth. This walk will determine my status with him as a so-called Christian. I was blessed at the beginning - my mother and dad were both Presbyterians as were their parents. So, I was baptized as an infant at about 6 months and grew up almost every Sunday in Sunday school followed by church attendance. I joined Christ as my personal savior at age 14 and for a few years considered a study to be a pastor, but after this I slowly began a period when I drifted into becoming what has been designated by many authors as a "casual" Christian. It took several years for me to learn that Jesus is not going to allow anyone to remain "casual" with Him. I got into use of alcohol - into "accepted" levels at first - at business related entertainment - in most social affairs. In
those days, it was the "in vogue" way to entertain. If you were a "tee-totaler" you would not have been accepted by the society that we thought was the "norm". Alcohol use began to grow to a point of troubles and problems caused by the influence it can become. I was never in jail, never got a DWI, never lost a job due to alcohol, and on the story goes. But at the same time I attended church at an irregular rate: the bottom line was that it got to the point where I had to stop or face a bad future. Jesus Christ took me into His charge and I had to stop consumption of alcohol. At this point (2020), it was 38 years ago when I got on my knees and asked God to remove the desire to drink from me - and from that day in 1981 to this day in 2020, I have not had the desire to drink any beverage that contained alcohol. When I came to Florida to work for the US Air Force, I joined the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Ft. Walton Beach in 1996 and have attended regularly until this date. Over this period, I led a Sunday School Bible study for 18 years and I studied the truth and depth of the Holy Bible and how necessary it is for a true Christian way of life. I say this in closing this document: If you have not experienced a true relationship with the Mighty Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit then you are missing out on some true joy that can only come from this belief and taking action to join Him personally. Believe me - in my long life I have no major regrets - it is what it is and time allows no changes. My advice – you read this as I’m now with the savior - is to learn to trust in Jesus and get into the business of following God. Do it on your own personal basis but start NOW - don't miss out on a most rewarding way of life and preparation for the trip into eternity that you most surely are going to perform. As Sir Winston Churchill said: "No material progress of man can bring comfort to his soul. Material progress means monetary riches, power, fame, and so the list goes; but none of these labels of prosperity will bring comfort to a human's soul or peace in his heart in times of serious need and at the hour of his death."
Written with love to all who read it - Jerry Robertson, Sept. 2020
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