James Frederick Roberts, Jr. was born in Fort Lewis, WA on July 9, 1940. The oldest of six children, he demonstrated discipline and determination that eventually carried him to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. After graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, Jim was commissioned as a U.S. Army Artillery Officer. The day after graduation, his first order of business was to marry Susie, his "one and only." Together they forged a deeply loving union that produced five accomplished children and seven sweet grandchildren. Their love for one another grew through 41 years of marriage that brought them many wonderful experiences throughout Europe and the United States. Jim's military career included service as a paratrooper and two combat tours in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He progressed through a series of company, battalion, and brigade commands, eventually commanding over 2,000 soldiers. He continued his formal education by graduating from the Naval War College, and by earning a Master's Degree in aeronautical engineering from the University of Michigan. His final assignment in the Army involved management of the Army component of the Strategic Defense Initiative, more commonly known as the "Star Wars" anti-ballistic missile program. Following retirement from the Army in 1993, Jim and Susie settled in Tijeras, NM in the mountains east of Albuquerque. During ten years there, Jim continued his tradition of service in the local Catholic parish and the community. After a stint as a manager of a law firm, he followed his entrepreneurial interests, founding a software company with Susie and their oldest son. After several years of deteriorating strength, in 2003 Jim was diagnosed with a rare illness called amyloidosis. Calling upon an unyielding strength of character that endured despite his frail body and slight stature, Jim never felt sorry for himself. Instead, he used his analytical mind to creatively overcome challenges posed by his affliction, making the most of the cards he had been dealt. In the fall of 2003, Jim and Susie moved to Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. One year later. Jim's weakened condition led to an accident that ultimately claimed his life in Mission Viejo, CA on August 5, 2004. Jim is survived by Susie, four children, and five siblings. Memorial and internment services were scheduled to be held at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, CA on August 11, 2004 at 11:30 a.m.
Published on: Thu August 12, 2004