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“Tom, Jeff, Cindy, Adam, Karen, & families,We send our deepest sympathy in the loss of Gene. He was so many great things to many people. He will be...Read More »
1 of 5 | Posted by: Jennifer Freeland-Davis - IN

“I can never forget the afternoon I met Gene at his home to discuss what gifted education should be and what it was that identified gifted students....Read More »
2 of 5 | Posted by: Dana Wichern - Ft. Wayne, IN

“We have truly lost an outstanding intellect with the passing of Gene. He was the best boss and mentor I had during a long career at Magnavox. I...Read More »
3 of 5 | Posted by: Rod Bergstedt - Wolcottville, IN

“Gene was so helpful to Dick and I at Indiana University's Mini U, where he was a fixture! Without him we would not have ventured into so many...Read More »
4 of 5 | Posted by: Adie Baach - Fort Wayne, IN

“Carol and I wish to express our condolences to the Robertson family. We both had the honor of working with Dr. Robertson for many years at Magnavox...Read More »
5 of 5 | Posted by: Carol and Tom Butler - Fort Wayne, IN


Gene D. Robertson, 92, ended an extraordinary life on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at The Towne House Retirement Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Born in Overland, Missouri, he was the son of the late Watson Robertson and Lucille Cotton. Gene's unquenchable curiosity and lively intelligence led his favorite uncle to give him the fond nickname of "Little Doc" and drove a 45 year career spanning the US Navy, Bell Laboratories, and Magnavox.

He was awarded Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Texas, Austin in 1945 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1948, and was recognized with an honorary doctorate degree from Tri-State University and a lifetime achievement award from the US Department of Defense. Gene served in both WWII and the Korean War during ten years in the US Navy. At 21 he served in the Pacific as a radar officer on the USS South Dakota. At 23 he was working on the post-war Manhattan Project before serving in various roles in naval intelligence and scientific research, reaching the rank of Lieutenant, playing a key role in Cold War defense and forging a life-long friendship with future Magnavox CEO, James T. Smith (whom he recruited to the company).

Gene joined Magnavox in 1953 and was the Senior Vice President and Director of Research & Development. During his 36 year tenure he was awarded more than 40 US patents and led pioneering Magnavox teams that made breakthroughs in fields as diverse as artificial hearts, plasma displays, GPS, sonobuoys, and electronic gaming systems. Gene was known for both his technical and leadership skills that one engineer said, "encouraged us to produce hardware that most of us believed impossible."

Residing in Fort Wayne for over 60 years he was an active member of the community, a strong proponent of corporate and civic responsibility, and a champion for education access, equal rights, and mental health services. He served on the boards of the United Way, Park Center, Allen County Society for Crippled Children, Indiana Humanities Council, Rehabilitation Center, Indiana Economic Development Association, Indiana Curriculum Advisory, Allen County Public Library and Science Central, which he helped to establish. He was an active member of the Fort Wayne Country Club and the Quest Club.

In 1944, he was drawn by the sound of an out-of-place accent at the University of Texas and met the love of his life, Jean Ryan. They were married in 1945 and were a devoted, lively, and engaging couple through 66 years of marriage, raising six children as loving and dedicated parents.

His love of music ranged from Tchaikovsky to Miles Davis, his love of books from Freud to Vonnegut. In retirement he took full advantage of more time to pursue interests in golfing, traveling throughout the world, exploring new ways to learn, following current events, and continuing to explore science, philosophy, literature, music, and art. He was most happy when sharing these explorations with family and friends and especially when given the chance to sprinkle in some of his gentle humor.

Throughout his life, Gene drew inspiration from Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, seeing a kindred spirit in the knight who lived by "the dictates of reason and the laws of chivalry." Gene was a gentle man, with a fierce intelligence who lived his life shaped by the belief that the strong and the fortunate have a duty to the weak and underprivileged. He leaves a lasting legacy and will be greatly missed by all his family and many friends.

Surviving are his children, Thomas (Linda Lee) Robertson of Vancouver, WA, Diane Abernathy of North Vernon, IN, Wendy (Jacob) Zindel of Ann Arbor, MI, Bruce (Judy) Robertson of Sarasota, FL, Katherine (Bruce) McRae of Lawrenceville, GA, Amy (Michael Bolton) Robertson of Louisville, CO; grandchildren, Jeffrey, Cynthia, Karen, Adam, Emily, Aaron, Jake, Samantha, Calli, Colin, Bonnie, Liliana, and Tobias; great-grandchildren, Evan, Neya, Isak, and Olivia; sister, Joan Kopp of Bonne Terre, MO; half-sister, Sally Clemans of Lima, OH; and nephew, Allen Kopp. Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Jean R. Robertson. Service is 11:00 am, Saturday, March 25, 2017 at D.O. McComb & Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Avenue with calling one hour prior. Calling at the funeral home Friday, March 24, 2017, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm & 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm. Memorials may be made to the IPFW Scholarship Fund or the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. To sign the online guest book, go to www.mccombandsons.com.