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Tuesday, May 24, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 20


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10/7/2013 4:50:00 PM
Edward Alan Roberts

Edward Alan Roberts died in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. on Oct. 4, two weeks before his 89th birthday.

A native Californian, the third child of Sadie and Howard Roberts, he was born in 1924 in a Los Angeles neighborhood, a short trolley ride from Hollywood, and his childhood memories brimmed with movies and movie stars.

A graduate of Eagle Rock High School, Roberts briefly attended Occidental College before working as a clerk during WWII on Catalina Island and Oahu, Hawaii. The GI bill allowed Roberts to finish his schooling with degrees in education from the University of Southern California.

When the war ended, Roberts returned to his old neighborhood and earned his bachelors degree in English Literature at nearby Occidental College. Again, luck, in the form of the GI bill, allowed Roberts to attend a private, highbrow college that his family's modest means could not possibly have managed.

Movie star good looks, intelligence, a great education, and polished manners, allowed him entree to what passes for society in 1950s Los Angeles.

From the big wheels he learned to buy and sell real estate and cars in a booming economy while he earned his masters in education from University of Southern California.

In 1957, at 33, he wooed and married Alice Siegmund, a professional food editor recently arrived from New York City, and he began in San Luis Obispo, Cal. what turned out to be a nearly lifelong teaching career. The first of his two daughters was born in nearby Santa Maria.

Soon, Roberts moved his family to Pasadena, where his second daughter was born, then to Ojai, Cal. so he could teach English to nearly two generations of Buena High School students in Ventura, then a sleepy surfer and citrus dealer town. He also provided his students with skills like the strategy-centric card game Bridge. Roberts believed a liberal arts education contributed to his own success and always supported high-level public education.

Late in the 1960s, as the Beatles and Twiggy became household terms, Roberts and his family spent two sabbatical semesters in England where he studied at Cambridge University and the University of London. There he learned to love all things British. A 1971 holiday with his wife in Maine and French Canada convinced Roberts that New England was the next best thing to the United Kingdom, so in 1972 the family packed up and moved to Midcoast Maine.

Not long after this move, Roberts began to show the strain of his double life. A solo antiquing trip to England ended in a car theft from the streets of New York City and many unanswered questions. By the mid-1980s neither a bustling bed and breakfast business nor freedom from child-rearing responsibilities seem to salve difficulties in his marriage, so he and his wife divorced and found new lives.

From 1987, Roberts lived in the Florida Panhandle with longtime friend Terry Dowling. They traveled widely and enjoyed their domestic routines, personifying the term life-partners. Dowling and Roberts shared passions for film, theater, literature, music and art. As Roberts' health deteriorated in recent months, Dowling provided constant, selfless loving care in their home in Navarre and wherever they roamed.

Besides Terry Dowling, a Hastings, Neb. native, Roberts' survivors include daughters, Leola (Lee) Beth Roberts of Alna, and Corrie Mellor Roberts of West Rockport; grandson, Eli Carlton Miller of Alna; and sister, Corrie Roberts Hoofard of Ventura, Cal.

Roberts was a member of the United Methodist Church of Navarre, Fla., where family and friends meet at 2 p.m., Wed., Oct. 9 for a memorial service, with a gathering to follow at the Roberts-Dowling home.

In lieu of flowers, friends can honor Ed Roberts by making donations to Equality Florida, P.O. Box 13184, St. Petersburg, FL. 33733; their local humane society; or their local United Methodist Church.

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