In Memoriam

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Jack L. Robertson ’37

Jack Leighton Robertson ’37, August 13, 2002, from complications from a stroke, in Palo Alto. Jack attended Reed for a year, and then entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating with a BS in 1938. He worked for Pan American Airways, and in 1940 he and his wife, Helen, who predeceased him, began their nearly 50-year marriage. Jack reenlisted in the navy in 1941 and served with the Naval Air Transport Service in the Aleutian Islands and in the Pacific. In 1946, he moved to Menlo Park with his wife and their two sons. He managed Pan American’s operations in San Francisco, and became interested in the practice of law during an airline labor dispute. In 1952, he graduated from Stanford Law School. His primary passion was for education—for creating equal opportunities for all students irrespective of ethnic and economic divisions. He served on a number of school boards, and was chair of the Mid Peninsula Task Force for Integrated Education. From 1969 to 1977, Jack led an effort to achieve racial balance in the Sequoia Union School District, utilizing as a primary plan voluntary student transfers rather than mandatory busing. He was widely active in his community, including as a president of the Family Service Agency of San Mateo County, as director of the United Way, as a peace activist, and as a member of the United Presbyterian Church. His legal career spanned 24 years, and included a partnership in Menlo Park and work as an inheritance tax referee for the State of California. In retirement he maintained a connection to education, teaching, tutoring, and lecturing about the importance of making good choices, at Menlo-Atherton High School. Jack once wrote that he considered his year at Reed to be the most significant education he had. He is survived by his sons and three grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2003

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