Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Uncle Sam Roberts

I should have posted this last month. One of my mother's younger brothers died in June. It was not unexpected. Back in May the doctors had given him only weeks to live, mostly from complications from diabetes, but also I believe from some heart problems. He was a life-long smoker, but was otherwise in fairly decent health until about a year ago. He died at home, with my mother and their brother Carl there when he breathed his last.

Sam was #6 of my maternal grandparent's 9 children. There was one brother between him and my mother, a brother I never knew because he died when I was just a baby. But Uncle Sam I'd known all my life. He was a newspaper man, an excellent photographer, a Little League coach, and a confirmed bachelor. He could play several instruments very well, wrote lyrics and music, and had a beautiful singing voice that was a bit growly and smoky. He and his brothers used to perform for WAVE-3 radio in Louisville back in the 50s or 60s. My mother has some pictures of them in the sound studio, and I particularly remember one of Uncle Sam in front of one of those old-fashioned microphones. Uncle Sam was born with a missing vertebrate in his neck, so he always looked like he was hunching his shoulders.

I attach here his obituary. Please click to read the write-up that his long-time editor and friend, Donn Wimmer of The Hancock County Clarion, wrote in his honor, and a story written by Sam that The Clarion published back in 1982. There are also a couple more pics of him in the article.