Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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January 4, 2013

John Richard Roberts

Athens — Former Gun Barrel City Chief of Police, John Richard Roberts, recently passed away after a long and hard fought battle with Cancer.

John Richard Roberts "Ricky" served Gun Barrel City in the early 1980s, we witnessed growth within the city. We saw the roads transform from county single-lane roads to four-lane mass-transit bi-ways. The police department grew from a single on-duty officer, to a fully-staffed station running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The station grew technically, and was granted their own license to operate communications over unique police bandwidth radio channels. The department went from two old squad cars to the very first brand-new vehicle, with a dozen more squad cars added, before he resigned as chief. 

After a terrible an unfortunate squad car accident, he resigned  from duty as Chief of Police.  Ricky went on to thrive as a very successful business owner. During his tenure with the City of Gun Barrel, new businesses thrived, and developed in the city.  We even witnessed the addition of one of the largest corporations in the city, Walmart.

Ricky was one of the fortunate that what ever he dreamed of as a boy, he was able to grow up and try. He started as a youth in Civil Air Patrol, which led to Police Officer. But, in that time as a boy, he investigated and earned a license as a Amateur Radio Operator, which served him and the public well throughout his life. He served on many boards, and was involved in many organizations that came out of those hobbies and experiences like Texas Weather Patrol, Rescue Search and Recovery, and Coast Guard Auxiliary and ROTC in high school. He had four very close friends as a boy that would experiment with him, from building one-line radio transmitters that were buried cable underground from one house to the other houses of his friends. This was  before utility companies began using underground pathways.

During his time of youth, he rode horses,  and was involved in thousands of barrel races through the Pleasant Grove, Balch Springs and Mesquite  Riding Clubs. He won a vast amount of trophies for his horsemanship, and earned the nickname of " Horse Whisper" for his kindness and gentleness to the most difficult horses. He was involved in the Mesquite High School Marching Band, and became involved in an after-school program, once he was grown up, married and working at Dallas Police Department at the Mesquite Music center with Rodney Sandlin. He taught one-on-one Drums and rhythm to high school students.   But before this time, as a teenager, he was mentored by his Uncle Maurice Solomon who was a Detective for the Dallas Police Department, and was present in the basement at the time Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald.

This encouraged much of Ricky's  adventures into law enforcement. His friends, were close as a youth with many of the same inspirations, and adventures they  went on as career fireman, postal, and military.

Ricky's hobbies were always vast, and many of these he turned into businesses, from gardening to jewelry, pet stores to satellite TV business. 

Ricky's life was an adventure, and made that for his family. He loved to travel to the ocean, any ocean, and spend time in peace, gazing out over the blue water, spending personal time in the presence of peace he said he found there with the Lord, then digging in the sands and surf for creatures and  treasures.

Ricky even turned his last three years of terminal cancer into an adventure. He and Sandy settled in Round Rock to be near their daughter, as he underwent experimental chemotherapy. He would spend up to four days a week at Texas Oncology, where his circle of friends grew among not only patients and their families, but of staff, nurses and doctors. He came in each and every time with a smile, and  joy that he shared in group, and personal  talks that resulted in  hundreds that were able to find some peace for themselves, as their faith and trust grew like his had in our Lord, as they went through the stages of treatment. 

At the end of what he could do alive, Ricky was deemed the longest-living patient on the protocol to fight colon/liver/lung combination cancer.

At his time of death, "Ricky" was surrounded by his wife Sandy of 41 years, and loving daughter Ashley,  both of Round Rock, son-in law Carl, and brother Wayne and wife Rosey and sister Carla, at the Lighthouse Hospice in Round Rock.

"Ricky" was born to parents Clyde Leon Roberts and Iris Joyce Cornelison Roberts on Oct. 1, 1951 in Balch Springs.

"Ricky" is also  survived by  granddaughter Destiny, and God-daughter Carmon Watts, Houston, also a personal close friend he loved like his mother, Carol Clark, Malakoff, and of two brothers, and two sisters of Gun Barrel City, and of many members of a large family and friends.

Ricky was preceded in death by both parents and younger brother, ­­­­Clyde Leon Roberts Jr.

He is survived by wife Sandra "Sandy" Usleton Roberts of Round Rock; daughter Ashley Roberts  of Round Rock; Soninlaw: Carl Coursen of Round Rock, Texas; brother James Dale Roberts and wife Bobby of Gun Barrel City, brother Clyde Wayne Roberts and wife Rosey of Gun Barrel City; niece Crystal Roberts Landtroop of Cross Roads and children, including three daughters,   Kelsey, Kiley and Molinda; nephew Clyde Wayne Roberts, Jr. and wife Jamie of Adelanto, Calif.; sister Janenne Henexson and husband Gary of Gun Barrel City; niece Amanda Roberts Wheeler of Payne Springs;  and children - nephew,  Matthew, and niece Morgan; sister Carla McDonald and husband John (Jay) of Gun Barrel City; and children-nephews John and Dylan; survived by numerous nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles and a vast number of friends.

Memorial services  for John Richard Roberts "Ricky" are under the Direction of the Rev. Paul McKinney (Eustace) and Eubanks Funeral Home, with Associate Pastors  Gary Andrews (Corner Stone Ministry), and  Jim Norcross (Homer, La.) at First Baptist Church   Eustace, Jan. 7, 2013 at 11 a.m.  at U.S. Highway 175 and Meredith Street. 

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