By David Beasley
When visitors enter Kernville from Highway 155, they’ll be greeted by a new welcome sign, installed by the Rotary Club with a donation from the late Ernie Anderson and his wife, Vera.
Anderson was a long-time and active member of the Rotary and made the donation shortly before his death, the club told the Kern Valley Sun. He was a geologist who coordinated the Rotary Club youth programs. He also drove high school students that the club sent to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in Ojai.
A college scholarship has been established in Anderson’s name for a Kern Valley High School senior planning to study science, engineering or math. It will be awarded in May.
Donations can be mailed to: KHSD Educational Foundation; Attention: Ms. Graci Ashmore; 5801 Sundale Ave.; Bakersfield, CA 93309. Donors should write on the check or an enclosed note, “Donation for the Dr. Ernie Anderson, Geologist, Scholarship.” Because the foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, donations are tax deductible.
In a Jan. 29, 2019, profile of Anderson published in the Sun, Elise Modrovich wrote that he worked with Apollo 16 and 17 astronauts.
“I designed and conducted teaching experiments at volcanoes in the Nevada desert for the crew,” Anderson told her. “Basically, I had to evaluate and critique the soundness of their observations and interpretations. But I tell you they were fantastic. You can’t believe how smart those guys are.”
In the 1970s while working in Saudi Arabia to provide geological information to the government, Anderson “stumbled onto one of King Solomon’s gold mines.”
“They had so much money, we were so well-funded, that we each had a Land Rover and our own driver,” Anderson said. “While being driven to a site, I was looking out the window down in a dry wash and something sparkly caught my eye.”
He found evidence of early mining.
“Not just gold, but bones, and evidence of thousands of years of history embedded there,” Anderson said.
Vera brought him to the Kern Valley. Her parents moved here from Pasadena to help Vera’s brother who had a respiratory illness.
“They needed clean mountain air,” Anderson said. “But they had gotten older and needed help themselves, so we sold our homes, quit our jobs in Colorado, packed up and moved here to care for them. That was in 2001. We’ve been and loved it here ever since.”