Well, not literally next door but only a couple of counties over, Archie “Red” Emmerson of Redding was recently reported by Forbes.com as back on their list. His Sierra Pacific Industries, based in Anderson, owns 1.9 million acres or forest in Northern California and Western Washington and his current wealth is estimated at $3.1 billion. At that level it’s hard to keep track of rankings but Forbes placed him at #520 of the 1,645 billionaires on this year’s list of the world’s richest people.
The Emmerson’s have strong ties to Eureka. Emmerson’s late wife, Ida, was a Eureka native and legend has it that they met at the Ingomar Club. He has donated $500K in her memory to Hospice of Humboldt to build a 12-bed facility for end-of-life care, to be located off Timber Falls Court, south of Harris Street. The entire cost of the facility is unclear to me but Hospice’s capital campaign goal is $2.5M and groundbreaking is scheduled for “Spring 2014”, whenever that is. I just drove by the site and it is definitely beautiful and peaceful.
The Emmersons (he has two adult sons) have a pretty spiffy place (click on the thumbnail photo to enlarge) but I don’t have the address and I wouldn’t give it to you if I did. I’m always grateful for any philanthropy in our needy community. Who knows? I may be a customer for that hospice myself, one day. The family has a foundation and I’m sure they give to many worthy causes but if you were trying to figure out what percentage of Mr. Emmerson’s wealth is being given to Hospice, on the back of an envelope, I already did it for you. My calculator won’t accept the right number of zeroes but the way I figure it, $550K equals .0000001 of $3.1B, or .00001%. Please feel free to correct my math- it’s not my strong point.
Obviously, our favorite billionaires are those who, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, are leaving their fortunes to worthy causes. Despite the talk about income inequality, the ranks of the super-rich are growing. Forbes counted 1,645 billionaires on its new list of the world’s richest people, up from 1,426 on last year’s list. This concentration of wealth can do a lot of good, or a lot of evil. What do you think?