C. John Roberts
West Point, 1970
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Peter H. Jones, USMA '70 on July 17, 2010:
John and I roomed together at West Point during all three upperclass years, becoming good friends over that period. Strange what interesting memories come to mind as I look back on those years. As yearlings I remember lying in our bunks talking into the night with roommates, Roberts and Russ about food. I couldn't get over listening to two Minnesota boys raving for hours about the exquisite qualities of their favorite cheese, Velveeta.
Rooming with John our cow year, we were both squad leaders, expected to set high standards for our plebes. Yet every picture I recently reviewed of our room that detail appeared like someone had just thrown a live grenade into it. I remember vividly the night our plebes carried me down two flights in my underwear, onto the stoop and tossed me over the moat into a snow bank head first in celebration of my recently announced engagement to Betsy. I emerged from the snow just as the officer of the day walked up to me with an inquiry about my uniform. While I never could prove it, that broad signature grin on John's face as I returned to our room clarified the instigator's identity.
My best memory of John senior year, when we roomed together third detail was his fantastic displays of academic skill. While he had always found math and science courses rather challenging, not so with English and social studies. During that time I was privileged to witness the obvious birth of what later became the manufacturing concept of J.I.T. (just-in-time). On more than one occasion John would arrive in our room after supper announcing that he had a term paper due the next day and figured he needed to hit the library to start his research. Arriving back in the room just before Taps, he would pull out the typewriter and start an all night crank, FD=FC (first draft equals final copy). The galling thing was three days later he would walk back into the room bragging about earning a 26.0 out of 27.0.
John was one of the best people I have ever had the pleasure to know. His smile, his laugh and his positive attitude were infectious. He brought light into the room whereever he went. Most recently looking at pictures of John's smiling face with Betsy and me at our wedding brought back such warm memories of the beautiful person that was and is Clayton John Roberts.
Betsy and I send our sympathies to Dona, their children and all of John's family in their sorrow at the passing of such a wonderful man. Throughout his life, John faithfully served his family, other people, his country and his Lord. So if there is any consolation to those he leaves behind, take confort in the fact that John has already heard those precious words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
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