Tribute to a great man

Published 10:16 am Thursday, March 23, 2017

To the Editor:

Many of the readers of this newspaper have known Frank Marvin Roberts as a person who wrote those interesting articles about famous people that he had known during his years as a DJ, radio/TV personality, and as a newspaper columnist. Frank enjoyed his work as much or more than anyone I have ever known.

I had the good fortune to get to know him as a friend who was always willing to help me promote the Brady C. Jefcoat Museum of Americana. Frank came to Murfreesboro looking for a story and he found one at the Museum. I can remember sitting down with him with his tape recorder picking up each word he and I shared. Frank’s articles fortunately kept us busy almost every weekend giving tours to people who read his articles about the Museum that he had published in the Virginian Pilot and from his radio shows.

Frank enjoyed the Museum so much that he donated his lifelong collection of records to Mr. Jefcoat with the understanding they would be placed in his Museum. Frank and his family could be counted on to be resident docents in the room that housed his collection each Pork-Fest.

Frank had little to say about himself but was forever talking about his family and the many entertainers that he got to know and love during his working days.

It is sad that my wife Lorene and I had to go to the celebration of his life following his death on March 18, 2017 to really find out very much of his wonderful life. He was my friend and in tribute to him I would like to pass on to you his readers the rest of the story of his great life.

He was born in New York City on November 8, 1928, and was the only child of the late David Roberts and Sophia Bainder Roberts. Two months after graduating the from Bentley School in Manhattan, he joined the Army, taking basic training in Fort Dix, New Jersey and was later stationed in California and Washington State. He served in the Signal Corps as part of the Technical Service Unit in Nome, Alaska. In the evening he was part of the Armed Forces Radio Service broadcasting over WXLN, The Voice of the Arctic. After discharge, he took advantage of the GI Bill by attending the School of Radio Technique in New York City. With that in hand he worked for stations in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, New York, Iowa and Edenton, NC. Later he turned to TV and did work in Waterloo, Iowa, Washington, N. C., and Virginia Beach, VA.

As a free lance writer, he had regular contributions for Grit, Country Weekly, and other publications, and later worked with the Virginian Pilot, the Daily News, the Suffolk News-Herald as well as this publication.

For many years he de did interviews and music show reviews, and met many famous stars including Roy Acuff, Faron Young, Julio Iglesias, Patti Page, Shirley Jones, Conway Twitty, the Statler Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Willie Nelson and Alabama. With all these years of mingling with these famous and talented entertainers he never ceased to be a family man who was very proud of his wife, Valeria, his daughter Jennifer, and his two sons David and Clavis. He probably spoiled his great grandchildren that he loved so much as well.

Frank was a faithful member of the Hertford Baptist Church. He made his mark and will not be forgotten. Readers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald have been fortunate to have read his articles.

Brinson Paul