John ROBERTS

Obituary of John ROBERTS

"In Memory of John Hunter Roberts
Observations by Ann Roberts Holden
Born: September 26, 1945, Madison, Wisconsin
Died: February 12, 2018, Victoria, B.C. Canada
When he was born, Mother was still in the hospital on my 4th birthday, October 1. I was told later that I had quite a little fit over my mother not being present for the little party she had prearranged for me. She was still in the hospital, which was routine at that time.
He was named after our grandfather with the middle name Hunter because Dad liked to hunt. Brother Charles’ middle name, Walton, was after a famous fisherman, Isaac Walton.
Our brother and I had a silly nickname for him. A favorite children’s book character was Jonathon Perceval Pinkerton, Jr. Another book had a character, Little Johnnie Mud Turtle. So, innocent little brother became Jonathon Percival Pinkerton, Jr., Mud Turtle, Stinky Roberts. The “stinky” was just because we were bigger than him.
Mother told me that after Charley and I started school, he made a game of playing ‘hide and seek’ with her. Except he didn’t tell her about it, so he would hide and sometimes would wait a long time while she was doing her housework before she thought to look for him.
We lived in Madison, at 725 East Johnson Street, until October, 1951, when our parents purchased the old Vilas School house as our new home.  
The first day we rode the school bus, it was painted red, white and blue then, and we were pretty nervous so we all sat in the same seat. John was in first grade, Charley in second and I was in fifth grade.
We three siblings played a lot together after we moved to the country. Much of the time was spent in the woods on our land. There were thick long vines which we swung on and we’d yell, “Tarzan,” and had what seemed like a big ride.
We were expected to help work in the garden which was quite large so we had enough tomatoes to preserve in glass jars and we sold a lot of Sweet Corn. We also had a large strawberry patch.
Both boys were in Boy Scouts and Daddy was the scoutmaster for a year or so. They went camping and other fun activities.
Our whole family went on an annual vacation to Northern Wisconsin each summer. We mainly fished, swam and just explored the woods. In later years, we’d all go deer hunting the week of Thanksgiving. The first time we went, John was pretty small and not really into hunting so he’d lay his gun down in the snow and brush the snow off the small pine trees. I think he was afraid the boughs would break if he didn’t look out for them.
We went through 8th grade at Cottage Grove State Graded School, then to Monona Grove High School. I was in college, U of W, and lived at home but I still don’t remember any stories about his high school years. None of us got into trouble in High School, we were expected to behave and we did.
All of us liked the new form of music called Rock and Roll. Our parents thought it might lead to the downfall of civilization but it didn’t lead us down the path of wickedness. John and I would go to a record store and listen to a song, sharing a single pair of headphones. There were radio stations that actually played rock music all the time. Since most stations were mainly entertainment, news or information shows, that was pretty radical.
John went to UW for awhile but I am not sure what he studied or for how long. It was the 60’s, and protests were going on in Madison, almost as much as Berkley.
One adventure we shared was a road trip to Colorado with some of my girlfriends. John had an uncanny sense of direction and could navigate Boulder after just a few hours of being there.
John didn’t want to be drafted to go to Viet Nam to fight in a war he didn’t believe in so he moved to Canada. He went to Toronto first, later he moved to the Vancouver area, where he resided the remainder of his life.
He married Jane just before they both turned 50. They enjoyed each other’s company and she lovingly cared for him in his later years.
At one time, my husband and he had a discussion about local dialects and accents. Bob, a born and raised Texan, claimed that he didn’t have an accent. John laughed pretty hard at that one. Actually, our whole family had a good sense of humor, which likely helped us laugh during some difficult times.
He was an excellent photographer. He was also very interested in solar eclipses so he travelled the world to see several, including to Katmandu.
John didn’t acquire a degree from a prestigious college but he was very well educated because he loved to learn about many subjects.
He wasn’t well known but he was well loved by his wife, family and friends.
He wasn’t an athlete but he knew how to take care of his body.
His wealth wasn’t measured by his stock portfolio but in the joy he found hiking in nature with his wife.
I am proud and grateful to claim him as a brother.
Ann Holden

John and I shared a love of the outdoors and some of our happiest moments were spent on the hiking trails in the Vancouver/Whistler area. He always had binoculars around his neck; just in case an interesting bird was in the vicinity. He was well travelled; spent many months in India in his youth and became a solar eclipse chaser; telling me it was a good excuse to travel. He also enjoyed kayaking, working with wood, he started making a robot at one point and he was interested in all the latest computer technology. He was a bit of a goof-ball and loved people especially Carol's children Pep and Braid; they became his adopted family.
He had a gentle soul and as his disease progressed this came to the forefront. He was a favourite with the staff at Beckley Farm Lodge but they had to watch him when the tea trolley came out as he followed it around hoping for more cookies.
He was much loved and will be deeply missed.
Rest in Peace John
Jane Roberts