U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Earl D. Roberts, 90, of Summerville, South Carolina, formerly of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, passed to eternal life on Nov. 22, 2021, in Summerville.
Earl was born Nov. 5, 1931, in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. He graduated from McKeesport Area Senior High School in 1949 and enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. He was a B-29 gunner over North Korea, a B-52 tail gunner over North Vietnam, and served tours of duty all around the world. These included Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, and U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, before completing his career at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Michigan.
Prior to his U-Tapao assignment, Earl married Patricia “Pat” Smith (nee Wood) on Oct. 13, 1969, in Tampa, Florida. After proudly serving his country for 21 years, Earl retired from the Air Force in 1972. He then became a successful small business owner, opening and running Earl’s Aquarium and Pet Shop in Oscoda, Michigan, for 22 years.
In 2000, Earl and Pat moved to Pilot Mountain. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church, volunteered at the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center Food Pantry and Thrift Shop, delivered Meals on Wheels, and enjoyed square dancing. The couple moved to Summerville in 2017. Earl’s favorite pastimes were watching Pittsburgh Steelers football and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, often with a crossword puzzle in hand. He also liked many card and board games, and faithfully stocked his outdoor bird feeders for numerous feathered friends. He was also renowned for his homemade bread.
A devoted husband and father, Earl had a kind, gentle nature and always made time for everyone. He was an inspiring Christian role model who truly led by example, and we are blessed to have been part of his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Justine “Freida” Roberts (nee Haidle), sister Alice Hitchens and sons John “Michael” Roberts and Charles W. Smith III.
Earl is survived by Pat, his beloved wife of 52 years; six children, Pamela Smith of Summerville, Lisa Caldwell of O’Fallon, Illinois, Cynthia Wilson of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Joseph Robertson of Carpentsville, Illinois, Lawrence Roberts of Orlando, Florida, and Sherri Roberts of Plymouth, Massachusetts; eight grandchildren, Patricia Perry of Summerville, South Carolina, Blake (Alicia) Caldwell of Belleville, Illinois, Evan Caldwell of Pontoon Beach, Illinois, Sarah (Michael) Martin of Chesapeake, Virginia, Laurel Wilson of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Jennifer (Tod) Johnson of Volo, Illinois, Tom Robertson of Chicago, Illinois, and Kirby Roberts of Boston, Massachusetts and several great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, https://www.alz.org/
A private celebration of life service was held November 23, 2021, in Summerville.
Arrangements by PARKS FUNERAL HOME, 130 W. 1st North Street, Summerville, SC 29483. www.parksfuneralhome.com
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