Dr. J. Robert Beyster Obituary At a time when business ownership was usually kept closely held among a handful of executives, Dr. J. Robert Beyster’s philosophy was different: “Those who contribute to the company should own it, and ownership should be commensurate with a person’s contribution and performance.” Dr. Beyster put this philosophy into practice when, in 1969, he founded Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in La Jolla, California with a handful of scientists. From the beginning, SAIC was an employee-‐owned firm. The business—the largest employee-‐owned research and engineering firm in the United States—grew to annual revenues of $11 billion before it was split into two separate companies in 2013. Dr. Beyster died of natural causes on Monday, December 22, 2014 at his home in La Jolla, California—wearing his favorite sailing clothes, including an America’s Cup jacket and his University of Michigan cap. His wife, Betty, and family were with him. He was 90 years old. Dr. Beyster was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1924 to John F. and Lillian E. Beyster, and he grew up in Grosse Ile, Michigan. He attended Slocum Truax High School in Trenton, Michigan, and was salutatorian of his graduating class. As he prepared to graduate from high school, the United States entered World War II, and he enlisted in the Navy. He was sent by the Navy to the University of Michigan, where he was enrolled in the V12 Officer Training Program. He was commissioned as an ensign, and eventually served on a destroyer based in Norfolk, Virginia before leaving the service six months later. Beyster received a B.S.E. in engineering and physics in 1945, a master’s degree in physics in 1947, and a doctorate in physics in 1950—all from the University of Michigan.
Published on Dec 22, 2014