Catalyst Fall 2014

[MEMBER PROFILE]

Supporting Science—and the Human Race

Jeane Bertsch

UCS member Jeane Bertsch. Photo: Debra Moore

For almost 60 years a large photograph of Albert Einstein has hung in the den of Jeane Bertsch’s Southern California home. She and her late husband Don admired the physicist not only for his discoveries, but also his civic engagement—especially his 1939 warning to President Roosevelt about Germany’s atomic research, and later his stance on the threat nuclear weapons posed to humanity. “The photo was our pride and joy, and still is,” she says.

Jeane and Don were teenagers from neighboring Illinois towns when they married shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Don served in the army in World War II while Jeane worked as a navy supply inspector. After the war, Don became a traveling salesman with R.L. Polk, a publisher of city directories.

A Seminal Moment

Life on the road ultimately led the Bertsches to La Jolla, CA, where Jeane’s life changed after reading the book The Ascent of Man by the acclaimed mathematician and biologist Jacob Bronowski. “It made me realize how important humankind is,” she recalls. “If we would learn to take care of the planet and each other, it could almost be heaven on earth.”

Since Don’s passing three years ago, Jeane has attempted to do “her part” to address global problems. “I researched lots of different groups, and to me, UCS is the best suited for the time we’re living in and the condition of the planet.”

Last December she made a $50,000 legacy gift to UCS from her IRA. “When you have money left over, you want to make sure you do some good with it,” she explains, “and I’m just so pleased with what UCS scientists are accomplishing.” We thank Jeane for her generosity and trust.