Irving R. Roberts died of “TMB”, too many birthdays, as he would say, on December 14, 2020. He was born at his parent’s home in East Alton February 15, 1928. He was the fourth child of Charles E and Ella Frances Rowe Roberts. His older siblings Leslie, Preston and Mary predeceased him. His younger sister Ruth survives. Irving grew up in the Hill house his parents built at the top of what is now Hopewell Road. He attended Carpenter Elementary School and graduated from Brewster Free Academy in 1946.
Irving started dating Jean Parkhurst during high school. After graduating from high school Jean went to UNH. Irving, like his older brothers, enlisted in the Army. He went to basic training and traveled by train to San Francisco and then by ship to Korea. He was stationed in Korea as an MP for most of 1947. He was discharged from active duty in 1948 and remained in the reserves. He attended college at Franklin Technical Institute outside of Boston and stayed with Mrs. Hopewell in Watertown MA.
May 27, 1950, after Jean had graduated from UNH, Irving and Jean were married in Wolfeboro. They return to Watertown MA so Irving could complete his Associate Degree. December 1950 Irving was recalled to active duty before he could participate in his graduation. Jean moved to Wolfeboro and shared an apartment with her sister-in-law Ruth who was still in high school. In February Jean delivered their son Tom while Irving was station at an Army Base in Missouri. Irving was discharged from the Army in 1951. Jean and Irving lived with his parents at the Hill House until they moved into the Evan’s Farmhouse on Drew Hill Road. They resided in the house on Drew Hill from 1951 until Irving moved to a care facility near the end of his life.
In the late 1950’s Irving, his father Charles and brother Leslie started work on the Marina at Roberts Cove. Irving excavated the basin with his John Deere caterpillar which he still had at the end of his life. Irving worked on and at the Marina in some capacity for the rest of his life. When Irving’s father died in 1980 Jean and Irving continued to run Roberts Cove Marina with his siblings and extended family.
East Alton was more than where he lived, it was his community for over 90 years. Irving was the go-to man in East Alton. He did work for most everyone in the neighborhood at some time during his long career, working into his 80’s. He took pride in his “Yankee” ingenuity to get problems fixed and jobs done.
Irving and friends organized a fourth of July parade in the mid 1990’s which continues to this year. He assembled a Calliaphone (a type of calliope) which he put on a trailer so the parade would have music. This year neighbors and friends honored him with the largest parade and viewing ever for the parade.
Irving was a volunteer fireman with the Alton fire department and forest fire warden. He was instrumental in the formation of the East Alton Fire Association (EAFA) and the construction of the East Alton Fire station on Quarry Road. For decades he organized and supervised the barbeque pit for the EAFA annual chicken barbeque.
Irving is survived by his son Thomas (Jo), daughter Barbara (Steven), daughter-in-law Barbara, three grandsons Shane (Cassi), Christopher and Daniel Edson and a great grandson and great granddaughter. He is predeceased by his wife Jean (2015) and son John (2013).
His family wants to give special thanks to the neighbors and friends that helped Irving live independently for the last years of his life. Their help with projects, big and small, meals and friendship kept Irving active and interesting. The family is planning to have a memorial service in the Spring of 2021.
The Roberts family has been involved with the Free Will Baptist church in East Alton since it was founded in the early 1800’s. Irving and Jean were active in the preservation of the building and the formation of the East Alton Meeting House Society. Irving helped stabilize the structure’s foundation a few years back. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Irving’s memory to the East Alton Meeting House Society for the continue preservation of the church at Gilman’s Corner C/O East Alton Meeting House Society PO Box 1137 Alton, NH 03809.
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