2016-01-06 / Obituaries

Henry Butcher Roberts Jr.

Henry B. Roberts Jr., known as Hal, died on December 11, 2015, in hospice care in Englewood, Florida surrounded by loved ones.

Mr. Roberts was born in New York on January 18, 1940, to Henry B. Roberts and Paton R. Roberts. Educated at Rye Country Day School, St. Paul’s School, and Harvard University, he was also proud of lessons learned in the Marine Corps reserve and with Operations Crossroads Africa as a young man. All his life, he juggled family structure and expectations with a spirited interest in trying new things. He loved people, blending his father’s smile and his mother’s sharp wit to great effect, and was known for his elaborate storytelling and infectious laughter.

Most of his life was centered around New York City and Garrison, New York, where he raised six children. A lifelong reader, Mr. Roberts made the printed word his career, as a salesman for paper, printing, and book manufacturing companies. Riding Metro-North on the Hudson line, Mr. Roberts was able to enjoy both his love of nature and the city’s energy. He supported the early efforts of the Clearwater to clean up the Hudson River and never failed to bring all of his children (together and individually) on regular trips to Manhattan, where he showed them the splendors of the Harvard Club and the flavors of a NYC hotdog.

Yet, of all places, the Adirondacks rooted him most firmly. There, his grandmother taught him to fish, sail, and tell stories, and he passed those lessons on. When teaching his young children to sail, he guaranteed them a $100 bill if anyone flipped with him aboard. He never had to pay up, but he instilled a lifelong love of the North Country, taking risks, and spending time with family, while also teaching them to be competitive.

Family trees – his own and others – fascinated him and he was a devoted member of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, serving as board member and Fellow. Mr. Roberts supported many environmental and cultural organizations in Philipstown and other Hudson Valley communities, as well as the Englewood community. Mr. Roberts spent his final years in Florida, enjoying the warmth of the people and the weather. He went daily to the local YMCA, and was known for his poolside banter, and his wealth of information on trivia nights.

Mr. Roberts was predeceased by his wife, Sylvia Dillon Roberts, and his brother, Brinton Roberts, and is survived by his sister, Polly Roberts, of Chelsea, MA, his six children, and eight grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held in late July 2016 in the Adirondacks, at St. John’s in the Wilderness (http://www.stlukessaranaclake.org/stjohnsinthewilderness.html).

In lieu of flowers, please donate in his name to Tidewell Venice Hospice House of Venice, Florida (http:// tidewell.org/), the Elsie Quirk Library of Englewood, Florida (http://www.friendsofelsiequirk.org), or the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition (http://www.cchomelesscoalition.org/).

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