William Michael Roberts Sr., 88, Punxsutawney, died Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh.
He was born Dec. 4, 1924, in Robertsville, a son of the late Frank Roberts and Jennie (Barletta) Roberts.
On Jan. 9, 1954, he married Jean (Pride) Roberts, who survives.
Bill was a member of the Saints Cosmas and Damian Roman Catholic Church of Punxsutawney.
In 2011, he was honored with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, known as the “Cross of Honour.”
This is the highest award given by the papacy to honor service.
He graduated from Punxsutawney High School in 1941.
After a year of college, he served as a sergeant in various posts in the European theater for the U.S. Army during World War II.
After the war, he resumed his studies and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1949. He was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity.
Following college, he returned to Punxsutawney and joined Frank Roberts and Sons, Inc.
For 63 years, he was devoted to and contributed to the growth of the company with his brothers Ralph and Fred and brothers-in-law Charles Gigliotti and George Moore Sr.
Frank Roberts and Sons now employs his sons Bill and Jim and grandson Andrew, as well as other family members, now into the fourth generation.
Bill has been active in the community his entire life, but his favorite work was the 50 years he worked as a member of the Inner Circle of the Groundhog Club.
His official retirement as Sleetmaster in the Inner Circle did not stop him from staying active in Groundhog events, as well as promoting the club and groundhog everywhere he traveled.
He was also active in the Run/Walk for Someone Special and was a 3rd-degree member of the Knights of Columbus and a member of the Saint Vincent DePaul Society for many years.
In addition to his wife, surviving relatives include three sons, William Roberts Jr. and wife Katie of Punxsutawney, James Roberts and wife Mary of Punxsutawney, and Joseph Roberts, D.D.S., and wife Kathryn Ames, D.M.D, of Philadelphia; three daughters, Betty Lanza and husband
Paul, D.O., of Moorestown N.J., Lori Marra and husband Mike of Pittsburgh and Jennifer Roberts (Woman of the Year for 2012) of Punxsutawney; sixteen grandchildren: David, Nick, Joe and Donna Jean Roberts; Andrew and wife Jacque Roberts; Louisa and Tess E. Roberts; Stevie and Jayne Roberts; Angela, Paul, Maria and Julia Lanza; and Lindsay and Michael Marra; one sister, Elsie Gigliotti of Robertsville; and one brother, Fred and wife Peggy of Robertsville.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Esther Moore; and a brother, Ralph Roberts.
Friends will be received on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, from 7 to 9 p.m. and on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Deeley Funeral Home, Punxsutawney.
A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, at the Saints Cosmas and Damian Roman Catholic Church in Punxsutawney, with Monsignor Joseph Riccardo officiating.
Interment will be in Calvary Cemetery, Punxsutawney.
The family has suggested that memorials be made to Camp Friendship/The ARC of Jefferson and Clearfield County, or Saint Cosmas and Damian Roman Catholic School in Mr. Roberts’ memory.
Online condolences may be made at www.deeleyfuneralhome.com .