Ernest Yehezkel Robinson, 81, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, December 7, 2017 in Pasadena, CA, surrounded by family. Ernie was born January 14, 1936 to Avram and Sylvia in Alexandria, Egypt. He was an only child, and is survived by his wife of 59 years, Evelyn, children Deborah, Matthew and Michelle, and grandchildren Joshua, Aaron, Gabriel and Mia. He is predeceased by his son Daniel z”l.
Ernie lived in Egypt and Israel until age 10 when he and his mother traveled by ship to join his father in America. After going through Ellis Island, the family settled in Portland, Oregon.
Ernie studied mechanical and nuclear engineering and received his Masters Degree from Oregon State University in Corvallis Oregon in 1959. He went on to work at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Rohr Corporation, JPL, PDA and The Aerospace Corporation.
During his career, Ernie worked on many different projects related to materials strength, solid rocket motor cases and nozzles and rocket propulsion. He was the Principal Investigator in the Aerospace Sponsored Research program for including micro- and nanotechnology in space systems. Ernie was on review teams for launch vehicle readiness and to investigate rocket failures. He has several patents, including carbon-fiber-reinforced bone cement appropriate to hip implants and a new 20-mm projectile and fuse. Ernie mentored new engineers and continually pushed the edges of bureaucracies and space science.
Ernie was an avid explorer and always wanted to learn new things. He read voraciously, thought about things deeply and always out of the box, loved to explore new foods and tried to draw anyone he could find into stimulating intellectual discussions. Everyone who interacted with Ernie learned something.
Ernie worked hard to make the world a better place. He demonstrated for workers’ rights and Soviet Jewry, attended rallies at People’s Park in Berkeley, ran for school board and was a precinct walker.
Wherever he lived, Ernie was active in his Jewish community. He served his congregations as Bar Mitzvah teacher and shofar blower. In recent years he coordinated the Yom HaShoah observance at the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center.
Donations in honor of Ernie may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization he avidly supported throughout his adulthood.