Obituary: Dr. James S. Roberts
Dr. James S. Roberts, a retired University of Nevada political science professor, former Deputy Budget Director for Nevada, and long-time Carson City resident passed away Wednesday, November 3rd of complications following a heart attack.
Roberts was born in Detroit, MI on September 17, 1924 to Jean and Ruth Stenius Roberts. He obtained his BA degree from Harvard College in 1947 and his PhD in Political Science from 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 was a member of the American Society for Public Administration, the American Society for Political Science and UNR’s Dial Club.
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 campaign. He ran for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994.
Roberts was involved in numerous civic clubs and organizations. His fondest pursuits in retirement involved frequent tennis with the older Carson tennis crowd, which, in recent years had evolved to meeting for coffee rather than tennis; his garden; and his family. 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 so many of his childhood summers.
Roberts’ fondest vocation was as a folksinger. In the 60’s and 70’s 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. Roberts is survived by his wife Anne, his son Eric and wife Lauren Rusk of Palo Alto, CA, son Mark and wife Eileen Roberts of Pittsburgh, PA, daughter Wendy and husband Dan Swanson of Sonoma, CA and grandchildren Ben Linkow, Matthew and Katherine Roberts, Nathaniel, Christopher and Delaney Swanson. He is also survived by his brother Eric Boyd Roberts and sister-in-law Pat Getchell of Ajicjic, Mexico, and sister-in-law Ruth Roberts of Los Angeles, CA, and three nieces and three nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Charles Donald Roberts.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 13th at the Nevada State Library, 100 N. Stewart Street in Carson City. A memorial scholarship in Roberts’ name is being created at the University of Nevada for political science and public administration students. Donations may be made out to the UNR Foundation with a notation “In memory of James S. Roberts,” and sent to UNR Foundation, Mailstop 162, Reno, NV 89557.