Elsie Margaret Roberts
(1917 - 2008)

Elsie Margaret Roberts

September 2, 1917

November 2, 2008

Elsie M. Roberts passed away peacefully of natural causes in Corvallis, Oregon on Nov. 2, 2008, after a long, happy life. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother.

Elsie was born September 2, 1917, the third of six children of Martin and Enger Noland, a farming family in Ford County, Illinois. She told her city-raised sons of farm life and about her pride in being a tomboy and keeping up with her older brothers. Living on the farm without electricity, she helped her mother with endless household chores, sometimes escaping the kitchen by joining her brothers doing outdoor field chores, milking cows, driving a team of mules, and learning to drive a tractor and automobile while still in her early teens. Most importantly, she told her sons how her family managed to survive the Great Depression on the farm; thriftiness and hard work were the keys.

Elsie rode a horse to school, where she was an excellent student and athlete. After completing high school, she went to Illinois State Normal University and in 1937 she completed a teaching degree. She returned to Ford County and taught first through eighth grade in a one-room rural school for two years.

In 1939 she met and married George F. Roberts, of Roberts, Illinois. Their early life together was dominated by World War II. George was a Captain in the army and was away on duty much of the time. During the war years they had three sons and she devoted herself to their care and comfort.

At the conclusion of the war, in 1946, George, Elsie, and their three sons, his mother and sister and her family, all moved to San Diego, to join George’s older brother, John, in a business venture. They spent over thirty years in San Diego, where Elsie bore four more sons. With a large and bustling family as her focus, Elsie was a “housewife” in the very best sense of the word, working happily and tirelessly to maintain a well-fed and loving household. How she succeeded in bringing order to the chaos of the lives of the eight men in her life is a testament to her good humor, loving discipline, excellent cooking, and boundless energy. We particularly remember her canning vegetables, making jams and jellies, and generally filling the pantry with her home canned delights, like her mother did on the farm.

A life-long Christian, Elsie was a member of the Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chula Vista, CA, where she raised her sons in the church. Always a teacher, she taught Sunday school for nearly seventy years.

When her husband retired as a San Diego city surveyor in 1978, they moved with their youngest son to Corvallis, Oregon, where she remained until her death. During this time, she was busy keeping up with her sixteen grand children and five great-grand children.

Elsie was preceded in death by her husband, and her son, George. Her surviving sons, David (San Diego, CA), Joe (Steamboat Springs, CO), Mike (Iowa City, IA), John (Corvallis, OR), Robert (Corvallis, OR), and Charles (Eagle, ID) and their families greatly miss her loving soul, eternal optimism, kindness, and spirit.

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Guest Book (10 entries)
While we were living at 2141 Flintridge Dr. in San Diego.
When I was about four, which must have been in 1947, just before twin brothers Mike and John were born (you were born in 1948,right, guys?), I got a two wheel bike for Christmas (or maybe for my birthday, which was a couple of days before Christmas). I didn't know how to ride a two wheel bike, so my mother, who must have been about eight months pregnant with Mike and John, took me to Bolivar Street, where there was very little traffic. She got me astride my bike and proceeded to run down the street pushing me along and holding me up until I caught my balance and my courage and was able to peddle off on my own. Of course, at the time, I had no idea what a remarkable feat it was for a pregnant woman, especially a woman pregnant with twins, to run, while bending over holding up a very small bike. At the time, I just expected my mother could, and usually did, do anything.
Joe Roberts (#3 son)
May 16th, 2009
With nine of us around the dinner table meals were always noisy affairs. Dad sat at the head of the table with Mom at his right and Dave at his left. I sat next to Mom on her right. I believe I was still in a high chair but I do know it was summer time because it was very hot and Dave was not wearing a shirt. Dave was flicking spoonfulls of water at me and I was whining about it of course. Mom told Dave to stop it but he did not. So Mom picked up her glass of water and threw the contents right in his face. I should have been having a little brother gloat over this but the event was so shocking to me because I didn't think my mother was capable of such a thing. I had a new found respect for Mom after that and no doubt I ate every last thing on my plate that night without complaint!
Charles Roberts (#7 son)
April 29th, 2009
The biggest regret of my life is that they didn't let me be in Mom's Sunday school class when I hit second grade! I had to be in Mrs. Parkhurst's class, she was a fat old lady with crazy, weird hair that was no fun. I would have to sit still in that class listening to Mrs. Parkhurst talk on and on all the while hearing the laughter and fun happeing in Mom's class on the other side of the partition. I tried sneaking into Mom's class but I was no match for those ladies.
Charles Roberts (#7 son)
April 29th, 2009
My earliest vivid memory of Mom was a kite flying expedition in the backyard at 5720 in San Diego. I was not school age yet I am sure. The kite was a preposterous hard plastic multicolored thing in the shape of an airplane the wings of which spun around on a length of wire. I held the kite and mom held the string and ran to get it going. It took a few tries to get it up in the air but the wind caught it and the wings started rotating with mom tugging on the string. The wings made a squeaking sound that caught the attention of a neighbor who said teasingly “Look at that eagle.” I was bursting with little boy joy at so easily fooling a grown man when the wind started to die and my eagle started to fall. I yelled at Mom to make it go up. Mom was barefoot, wearing shorts and a short sleeved blouse and I have this picture of her running backwards, tugging on the string and laughing all the while. Then she tripped over the lawn mower back by the olive trees; it was the old reel type push mower. She fell down and the kite came down with such a crash that it broke, never to fly again. I was beside myself and yelled at Mom for letting the kite crash when I saw the blood on her leg. Her calf was cut badly by the mower blades and even though I can’t really remember what she said, I am sure she said, “Oh, sugar in a gourd!” I felt bad for yelling at her about the kite when she was hurt which I think is why this memory has stuck in my mind all these years.
Charles Roberts (#7 son)
April 28th, 2009
I remember Grandma having unlimited patience and kindness, no matter how many times I slammed that sliding glass door. And I'm afraid I slammed it quite a few times. I also have great memories of looking for agates in the driveway with Grandma and Grandpa. And I remember taking walks with Grandma to McDonald's forest. I remember watching Perry Mason after lunch. One of my favorite memories is listening to Grandma talk her way through the old family photo album, telling me stories about each person. I wish I remembered more of the stories. I do remember a few of her stories about her childhood: sneaking over to the boys' playground to play baseball or going for rides in the neighbor's crop duster plane. I also remember her telling me that the reason she married Grandpa was because he made her laugh. I remember her laughing. I remember her cooking and cooking and cooking. I remember when she started to lose her memory and I realized that I would need to cook dinner for her, rather than her for me. She supervised me while I cooked, scolding me for my wastefulness when I didn't use the dry ends of the celery. I still have trouble tossing the dry ends of the celery. I remember that even when she didn't remember who I was anymore, she was still thoroughly Grandma--still happy, patient, kind Grandma. I also remember when I realized there was at least one benefit to having Alzheimer's: the joy of rediscovery. Each time I called my daughter by name, Grandma discovered with brand new delight that she had a great-granddaughter named after her. But mostly I remember her happy. And I remember feeling happy when I was with her.
Sarah Roberts Cady (grandchild)
April 18th, 2009
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""These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how (you) went with the throng and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.""
Charles Roberts
September 9th, 2009
"I am the good shepherd:I know My own and My own know me. John 10:14 I have no doubts that Jesus knows Grandma"
Susan Roberts McLagan
April 7th, 2009
""For I am convinced that neither death, nor life...nor height, nor depth nor any other created things shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39"
Sarah Roberts Cady
April 1st, 2009


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