While holding her daughter Sally’s hand and being soothed by a phone call from her other daughter, Susan, Alice Roberts closed her eyes for the last time on July 25, 2013. She was born Oct. 12, 1912, to Glenn and Merle Venrick, of Crete, Neb. A year later, her brother Charles was born.
To earn a Girl Scout badge at age 10, she and her troop walked from Crete to Omaha, which took four days each way. They were followed by cameras from “Movie News” during the entire trek. The movie was then played in theaters across the country.
When she was in junior high, her family moved to Omaha where her father was the district attorney. They moved again her junior year in high school to Winnetka, Ill., where she graduated from New Trier High School. From there, she went to Carlton College in Northfield, Minn., where she met her future husband George ( Jud) Roberts. He graduated in 1933, she graduated in 1934, and the two married April 6, 1935.
They moved to Minneapolis where their four children: Sally, Susan, Mary, and Bill, were born. In 1946, they left the snowsuits and cold behind to be near her parents in Roswell. When two acres of land adjacent to the Venrick farm became available in 1950, Jud and Alice built the house of their dreams. Jud managed Roswell’s first radio station, KGFL, and Alice spent her time raising their family. With four children heading off to college within five years, Alice returned to school and earned her teaching degree. She taught at Berrendo Elementary School for many years before teaching art and science at Goddard High School. After retiring, she spent long hours at her sewing machine making beautiful treasures for all her children and grandchildren. Her jeweled Christmas stockings are legendary.
In 1976, their son Bill and his family were transferred to Roswell by IBM and soon built their adobe house on the land where the Venrick house once stood. This “mudhouse” would become the cornerstone of what is lovingly referred to as “The Pigfarm.” It became the central location for reunions, weddings and gatherings for more than 30 years. Alice and Jud’s lives were so enriched by having another Roberts family next door. In 1994, their daughter, Sally, returned to Roswell to lend her support. Not many years later, their daughter, Mary, and her husband, Jim, joined the family compound as well. They would remain there until her death in 2007. Alice lost her beloved husband in November of 1997.
She lived a rich and fulfilling life long past the age when many grow weary of day-to-day life. Alice played the game of golf from childhood and one of her happiest memories was making a hole-in-one at Roswell Country Club.
At the age of 94, she tripped on a rake while planting tomatoes and her golfing days came to an abrupt end. Even after her eyesight was nearly gone, she was able to play bridge from morning until night each time her daughter, Susan, and her husband came for a visit.
Her love of the Dallas Cowboys never waned and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners had to wait until the fat lady sang. As the years passed, her greatest joy was sharing her morning coffee and singing show tunes with her son, Bill. Regrettably, just three months ago, he lost a brief battle with cancer. Alice’s life was never the same again.
She is survived by her daughters: Sally Herbein (Roswell) and Susan Stanton and her husband, Tom (Huntington Beach, Calif.); her son-in-law, Jim Skidmore (Las Vegas, Nev.); her daughter-in-law, Patti Roberts (Roswell); her nephew, Harry Whiting and his wife, Pat (Sheridan, Ark.); and her two nieces: Elizabeth Howell (Jonesboro, Ark.) and Betty Venrick (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.) She is also survived by eight grandchildren: Jenne Gaudet and her husband, Paul (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Tracy Luth and husband, Phil (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Bill Herbein and his wife, Kyle (Hickory, N.C.), George Roberts and his wife, Patty (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Tom Stanton (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Susan Davis and her husband, Ned (Suwanee, Ga.), Sally Aiello and husband, Joe (Rogers, Ark.), and Elizabeth James and husband, Jeff (Suwanee, Ga.) Nineteen great-grandchildren: Renee Stapley and her husband Michael (Chula Vista, Calif.), Ashley Phelps and husband, Ben (El Segundo, Calif.), Westin Gaudet and his wife, Jillian (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Nicholas Gaudet and his wife, Jennifer (Aliso Viejo, Calif.), Kate Herbein Crater and her husband, Brandon (Columbia, S.C.), Phillip Luth (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Roberts Herbein and his fiancée, Sarah Werner (Hickory, N.C.), Elizabeth McAlear (Suwanee, Ga.), Cristie Gaudet (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Caroline McAlear (Suwanee, Ga.), George McAlear (Suwanee, Ga.), Laura Stanton (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Casey Aiello (Rogers, Ark.), Alice James (Suwanee, Ga.), Kaden Aiello (Rogers, Ark.), Billy Roberts (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Sally Davis (Suwanee, Ga.), John James (Suwanee, Ga.), and Gabriel Davis (Suwanee, Ga.) Three great-great grandchildren: Dylan Stapley (Chula Vista, Calif.), Drew Stapley (Chula Vista, Calif.), and Nathaniel Phelps (El Segundo, Calif.)
A private memorial service with the Rev. Dale Plummer officiating will be held at St. Andrews Episcopal Church at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be sent to the Roswell Assurance Home, 1000 E. 19th St, Roswell, NM 88201.
Condolences may be made online at lagronefuneralchapels.com. Arrangements are under the personal directions of the professionals at LaGrone Funeral Chapel.