The Edmond Sun

July 8, 2013

William Maner Roberts


The Edmond Sun

EDMOND —     William Maner (Bill) Roberts, 86, was born August 25, 1926 to Maner and Oklahoma Roberts in Porter, Okla.

    The family farmed and Bill raised cattle and hogs with his older brother Vernon, called Pete. Bill grew up during the depression, the family was cash poor but rich in spirit and family. He grew up riding horses and competing in local rodeos but found his calling playing football. He was a star halfback for the Wagoner Bulldogs and was named to the 1944 Oklahoma All State football team. He hitchhiked alone from Hulbert, Okla.  to Oklahoma City to play in the annual Oklahoma All Star game at Classen Stadium. Bill was offered a football scholarship at Oklahoma A & M University but was called to serve in WW II before the start of his freshman year in college.

    After the war, he was captured by the love of his life, Evelyn. He played football on scholarship at Northeastern University supporting his young family with the GI Bill, working as a custodian and selling pots and pans door to door. While coaching football and baseball at Muskogee High School he and Evelyn raised four children. Bill went on to work for Shell Oil Company while attending Tulsa University law school at night. Following graduation in 1958 he began his legal career in the railroad industry. His tenure with the railroads spanned various positions ranging from claim agent to managing the tax department to handling labor claims and disputes.

    He began his career with the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf (KO&G) railroad in Muskogee. Better career opportunities took him to Chicago in 1963 to handle labor relations for a group of national railroad carriers followed by a move to St. Louis in 1968 with the Missouri Pacific Railroad. After a decade working among the “yankees  in the north”, he returned to the Promised Land by accepting a position as director of the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Affairs. In 1974 he became a district judge in Lawton where he did his best to dispense justice tempered with  “horse sense” until his retirement in 1992. Bill believed one should always stick by your family, tell the truth, do right and speak softly but carry a big stick.

    Bill is survived by his wife Evelyn of Edmond;  four children, Kaye Jones of Edmond, Karol Duffy of Moore, Bill Roberts of Edmond and Mark Roberts of Norman; eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

    Services will be 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at Matthews Funeral home, Edmond, with burial at Gracelawn Cemetery.