1924 – 2010: Former professor, budget director James Roberts dies | NevadaAppeal.com

1924 – 2010: Former professor, budget director James Roberts dies

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

Dr. James S. Roberts, a retired University of Nevada political science professor, former deputy budget director for Nevada, and longtime Carson City resident, died Wednesday of complications after a heart attack. He was 86.

Roberts was born Sept. 17, 1924, in Detroit to Jean and Ruth Stenius Roberts. He obtained his BA degree from Harvard College in 1947 and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina.

During his academic career at UNR, where he began his professorship in 1956, Roberts had a number of opportunities to teach political science and public administration in many foreign countries. He and his family lived in Lahore, Pakistan in 1962-64, while he taught at the University of the Punjab, and he also spent time teaching in Nigeria, Brazil, and Mexico. Roberts was also a founding faculty member at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va., at which he continued teaching as a visiting professor for many years. From 1965-67, Roberts took a leave of absence from UNR to serve as deputy budget director for the state of Nevada.

Roberts retired from UNR in 1986 and turned his energy to a wide range of interests. He was active in the Democratic Party, including the Carson City Democratic Central Committee. He served as a delegate at state conventions and caucuses, and served as chairperson for many political campaigns. He ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.

In 2003 he became a published fiction author with the publication of “The Bois Blanc Island Affair” a novel set on the island where he had spent many childhood summers.

Roberts’ fondest vocation was a folksinger. In the ’60s and ’70s Roberts frequently sang folksongs at various gatherings and used the message of the songs as an ambassador in many foreign countries. He was known for his love of, and memory for, thousands of songs ranging from folksongs, to labor songs, to Broadway show tunes to Gilbert & Sullivan.

Roberts and his wife, Anne, lived in the same house in Carson City for 45 years, and relished entertaining friends, family and visitors.

In addition to his wife, Roberts is survived by sons Eric and Mark and daughter Wendy, and their families.