William Charley Roberts, 89, of Springfield, died at 10:30 p.m. on December 19, 2018 at Cox South Hospital.
Bill was born on July 14, 1929, in Stockton, MO, to Claude Wesley and Beulah (Moore) Roberts. He was born at the onset of the Great Depression and when he was eighteen months of age his mother passed away while giving birth to his sister, Janie. The three siblings born to the couple were too much for their dad, so Bill was raised by his paternal grandparents, Edward and Sara (Sims) Roberts until he turned fourteen. They were very poor farmers and life lessons were hard. Bill never forgot the lessons of hard work, taking care of family and not wasting opportunities or belongings.
After the death of his Grandmother, Bill moved in with his dad who had remarried to Ruth Roder. He worked during the summers in Kansas City with his older brother, Carl. After World War II, Bill attempted, with the help of his father, to join the military at the age of fifteen. The recruiter didn’t buy the story that he was seventeen.
At the age of seventeen, Bill dropped out of high school and joined the United States Navy. He served on the U.S.S. El Dorado. World War II was just over, but the discipline of the war was very much alive in the Navy. He loved the Navy and enjoyed the discipline, his shipmates and the ship. Bill received his GED while serving his country. He attended the U.S.S. El Dorado annual reunions as long as his health allowed.
Bill married his high school sweetheart, Betty Jo Williams on May 17, 1948. They married in Bremerton, WA, and shortly after moved to San Diego. They remained married until her passing on December 21, 2005.
After Bill’s discharge he found work in Columbia, MO. They had their first child, Larry Wayne. While working there he took engineering correspondence courses. When the Korean Conflict broke out, although he was exempt from serving, he rejoined the Navy. While he served, his second son, Philip Dean was born. After his second honorable discharge from the Navy he obtained employment in Chamois, MO, at the new power plant on the Missouri River. It was in Chamois that his daughter, Patricia Gail was born.
Bill worked at the plant until he gained employment at Southwestern Power Administration in Springfield, in March of 1962. He worked there as a power dispatcher until he became the supervisor. He retired in 1985.
The love of his life passed away on December 21, 2005. He never remarried. Bill spent his retirement life serving the community. Bill was an active member of the Messiah Lutheran Church in Springfield. He volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, Greene County Library, the local Democratic Party and Genealogy Society. Bill was also a life-long member of the Masonic Lodge in Chamois, MO.
He was preceded in death by his wife, parents, step-mother, siblings: Carl, Roy, Dale and Janie Elliot and daughter-in-law, Paula.
Bill is survived by his children, Larry Roberts, Philip Roberts (Carolyn), Trish Roberts (Jim Hahn). He was the grandfather of five grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. He is also survived by siblings: Irene (Robert Bell), Neva (Albert Mallicoat), Lee Roberts and Ted Roberts (Pam).
Funeral service will be held Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in Messiah Lutheran Church, under the direction of Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until service time at the church. Graveside services will follow at 1:30 p.m. in Benton Green Cemetery, Roscoe, MO. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Messiah Lutheran Church, 925 East Seminole, Springfield, MO 65807.