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View a eulogy for Thurman McRoy Roberts, USMA '64, who passed away on July 4, 2010.

Thurman McRoy Roberts

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Christopher McRoy Roberts on April 26, 2012:

Good afternoon. On behalf of my family, thank you for joining us today, to pay your respects to my dad -- a man of service to friends, family & country -- a man that surpassed expectations.

Thurman McRoy Roberts, Jr. -- he hated the Jr. part - Skip, husband, soldier, dad, little league coach, big brother, boss, dog charmer, grandfather, father-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle, historian, tour guide, world traveler....

He was the kind of big brother that, as a boy, would ask for an extra piece of cake at a birthday party to bring home for his little sister Diane.

The kind of little league coach that always had words of encouragement for every child out there, no matter which team they played for.

The kind of historian that would get so involved guiding his group through Civil War battlefields that another guide actually asked him to keep it down.

The kind of father-in-law, uncle & friend who took robust pleasure in giving detailed directions -- he didn't want anyone in his unit to lose their way - physically, spiritually or metaphorically.

The kind of grandfather that took immense joy in his grandchildren's passions: dance, soccer, karate, music, airplanes, big cats, baseball -- if the grandkids love it, he loved it.

The kind of father that brings home a Bernese Mountain Dog on Christmas Eve.

The kind of father that lies on the floor, staying up all night long, massaging his sons back to alleviate the pain from the spinal injury that the doctors haven't discovered yet.

The kind of father that never missed a football, basketball, baseball or soccer game - never missed a theatre performance. For the plays my brother or I were in, he would actually come twice, once to watch his sons and the second time to watch the show.

My father's loyalty was inspiring. The story I'm about to tell is the sort of thing my dad was too humble to talk about, but it exemplifies his character.

After my father retired from the Army, he took a position with what turned out to be a less than reputable small company. When it became apparent the company wasn't on the up & up, he decided to leave. But he'd brought in & created a team of 10 talented individuals. What about his team? Well, he decided he would not take another job for himself, unless he could find one that allowed him to bring his entire group. He was offered at least 2 jobs that he turned down because they were only for him. Those companies thought he was crazy, but one organization was so amazed at this insane loyalty, that they hired them all. Dad said it might not be the best position for him, it wasn't as much money, but it was the right decision -- for him the only decision.

My father would have wanted us to remember his vibrant sister Diane, who passed away a few days ago. Her family is his family. Uncle Tom, Tani & Jeni -- I hope it offers some comfort to know my dad surely performed some heavenly reconnaissance for his little sister.

It's obvious to all that my Dad's life was fulfilled by his 46-year marriage to Judy Favier Roberts. Best friends, true love -- he made clear to me that everything he accomplished in his life held much deeper meaning by sharing it with mom. The last time I saw him, he had a blood pressure drop which caused him to blackout, we called the EMTs. He later apologized to me, asked me to apologize to everyone present. Then he paused and said "Thank God for your mother. She does everything. I don't know where I'd be without her." Mom, he loved you above all else. Home for him was anywhere that you were.

I've been thinking endlessly about who will fill the void now that Thurman McRoy Roberts is gone -- the answer is simple -- no one will. The depth of loss we feel is the measure of the man. I take comfort in knowing how many people love him and have treasured memories about his life and adventures. Sharing those memories is an act of love and loyalty. Let us share them, even to the point of making this humble soldier blush.

Christopher McRoy Roberts
November 3, 2010

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