Memorial Service for Jim Roberts
James Edward Roberts Jr. (a.k.a. Jim, or Deak to family and close friends), age 80, of Canton, Ohio and Goodyear, Arizona, died on January 2, 2020 in He is survived by his wife Carol Miller-Roberts, daughter of his first marriage Mary Kathryn Zuza of Goodyear, AZ and sister Susan Kathryn Travis of Northern Kentucky. Jim is preceded in death by his first wife Mary Jane Roberts.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, on January 24, 1939, and raised in Vienna, West Virginia, where he graduated from Vienna Elementary School and Neale Junior High School. He graduated from Greenbrier Military School, Lewisburg, West Virginia, where he distinguishing himself by being promoted in rank each of the three years he was there and twice as a cadet officer during his senior year. He was also the school’s table tennis (ping pong) champion in 1953-54, and winner of the school’s Commercial Medal for top business student at graduation in 1956.
As a Greenbrier Military School Alumnus, he served on the Board of Directors, created the “Greenbrier Forever Society” for family and friends and served as Publicity Director for the Greenbrier Leadership Institute, an organization providing on-line principle-based leadership education for Jr. High and High School students. He is also a member of the McElhenney Society of major donors.
He was the first member of his immediate family to attend college. After a year at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio, he transferred to the University of North Alabama, Florence, Alabama, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Science. He later earned an MBA from The Ohio State University.
After college, he started his Naval career at Officer Candidate school, Newport, Rhode Island. On being commissioned ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he started in Naval flight training at Pensacola, Florida, he discontinued flight training and was assigned to the fleet on board the USS Waldo County LST 1163 the Amphibious Force at Little Creek Norfolk, Virginia where he was ultimately promoted to LT and served as the ship’s Operations Department Head, Command Duty Officer, and Officer of the Deck Underway for Special Evolutions. Mr. Roberts remained in the Naval Reserve for an additional 21 years serving on several ships and shore stations. His service was during the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and he is a recipient of the “Cold War Certificate of Recognition” signed by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, acknowledging service to a grateful nation. He was promoted every time he was eligible and retired a Captain – O-6 from the United States Navy in 1984, after 24 years of service to the Nation. Captain Roberts is a recipiant of the Presidential “Certificate of Appreciation for Honorable Service in the Armed Forces of the United States”.
Former civilian employers were The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and Standard Oil of Indiana – AMOCO Chemicals Division (now BP). He founded his own company, Jim Roberts Plastics, manufacturing and marketing a patented product of his invention, U.S. Patent 4,451,164, the “Dish Scrubber”. The detergent-in-the-handle dishwashing tool, now available from many producers and used throughout the World.
He stopped his business activity to assist his late wife, Mary Jane (Hudak) Roberts (1938–2000), to teach Mathematics and Computer Science as a volunteer for 14 years at Central-Hower High School in the Akron Public Schools. Mary Jane a victim of Multiple Sclerosis who was confined to a wheelchair the last 14 years of her 38 year career. As a team, they taught thousands of high school children that handicapped people can do important work.
Mr. Roberts was a Life Member of several military and fraternal organizations among them the Greenbrier Military School Alumni Association, Military Officers Association of the U.S., Naval Reserve Officers Association, Reserve Officers Association of the U.S., Navy League of the U.S., The Ohio State University Alumni Association. Participating member of the U.S. LST Association, The Ohio LST/Amphibs Association, Army-Navy Union, American Legion, AMVETS, and the Fraternal Order of Eagles McKinley Aerie 2370.
After his wife’s death, he spent much of his time traveling the World with Carol Miller of Canton, Ohio, who became his second wife. They initially were “snowbirds” between Ohio and PebbleCreek until the last four years living permanently here in PebbleCreek. He loved playing golf and was a diehard Cleveland Browns and Ohio State fan. In his later years, Mr. Roberts enjoyed writing poetry and composed over 450 poems. He authored a book on his travels through Canada and Alaska with his daughter.
A Memorial Service will take place at the PebbleCreek Community Church, April 19, 2020 at 11:00 with a future full Military Honors burial in Ohio on May 1, 2020.