I was born, Lynn Melroy Hopland, in the Salvation Army’s home for unwed mothers in Spokane, Washington 1937 (a date challenged by my daughters who insist it’s more likely mid to late 1870’s) and 6 months later was adopted from an orphanage in Minneapolis. Being the second adopted boy in the family, I was the recipient of hand-me-downs, low expectations and benign neglect, all of which probably worked to my advantage as I thrived on exploration and self-discovery.

I grew up relying heavily on sports to keep me mostly out of trouble, math to compensate for my weak spelling and even weaker handwriting and a small motor scooter to partially placate my wanderlust.  A polio speed bump at 14, a year in a military church boarding school at 15 and a final two years of high school at a superb country day school somehow enabled me to sneak into MIT.

By my 25th birthday I had a B.S. ('59) and an M.S. ('61) in Electrical Engineering at MIT, was married, was father to D1 and had started my first real job at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory (second best decision of my life).   After several successful satellite programs, patents and scientific publications, I transferred to a research facility at Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands (2,200 miles west of Hawaii) both for the adventure and for the opportunities it afforded me.

After my tour on Kwajalein where I enhanced my reputation as an up and coming engineer, taught D1 how to swim, welcomed D2 and improved my scuba diving skills, I returned to complete the MIT Engineer’s degree (halfway between the Masters and the PhD), and accepted a position with the MIT Center for Space Research.   D3 decided this was an appropriate time to join her sisters. 

Things were deteriorating on the marital front so we all returned to Kwajalein where life was simpler in an attempt to salvage the relationship.  It didn’t work and we separated. I decided it was time for a change so on July 15, 1968, I called the EE department at the University of Colorado in Boulder to inquire about their PhD program.   Seven days later, my letter of acceptance found me in Minnesota and after seven more days, at sunset, D1, D2, D3 and I drove into Boulder, Colorado shouting out the window, “Ready or not here we come!”

The next year was perhaps my busiest year ever.  I was father (companion, reading instructor, entertainer, tour guide), mother (bad cook, creative with pony-tails, fair ironer), student (top in my PhD exams) and provider.  I was too busy to date.  After completing all PhD requirements except thesis, I headed for one last tour to Kwajalein.

Everyday I commuted 47 miles across the Kwajalein atoll by DC4, coached a swim team after work, taught calculus for the University of Hawaii nights, ran birthday parties for members of my swim team, babysat for friends while they took vacations, collected Japanese fishing floats and bought houses in Boulder.

I returned to Boulder to begin my thesis and Pow! I met and was instantly smitten by an incredibly beautiful gifted young woman - soon we were an item. I followed her to Stanford and we married two years later (at MIT I couldn’t get a date with a Harvard girl so I compensated for this earlier rebuke by marrying one - best decision of my life).  She finished her MBA and worked as a business consultant until D4 and D5  (basketball team?) showed up, then dropped to half time.

The rest of my career consisted of working at a couple of Silicon Valley Consulting companies, teaching part time at Foothills Junior College, volunteer teaching in various local schools and being heavily involved in D4’s and D5’s activities.  Finally, being overpaid for what I was doing and underpaid for what I could do, I decided work was overrated and retired.  Now I’m an overeducated engineer who writes books while my wife, a literature major with an MBA, fixes our computers.  Go figure.


Pente-daughtered-survivor,     Lynn A. Jacobson


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