Friday, January 17, 2014

Remembering a friend: Earl Roberts, Jr.

When former Longview mayor Earl Roberts, Jr. died of cancer Jan. 2, both the city and LeTourneau University lost a dear and great friend.

A native of Longview, Earl loved his hometown and served it with distinction. He served as Longview's city attorney for over two decades, then served as mayor of Longview from 2000 to 2003.

Earl understood that Longview would grow only if the quality of life was attractive. In July, he was named by the city council to lead the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, a group of 25 Longview residents that has been charged to develop a long-range plan to steer the city through the next two decades. I was proud to be included in that committee and looked forward to working with Earl. 

As a friend of LeTourneau, Earl was first elected to the board of trustees at LeTourneau College in 1967. On his candidate information form, Earl wrote, "Jesus became my savior at age 7, and since that time, He has been the center of my life; I am striving to become more like Him."

Later, in a letter he wrote in the fall of 1981 to Dr. Richard H. LeTourneau, then-LeTourneau College president, Earl wrote, "I believe it would be safe to say that only the Sunday School class which I teach has given me greater satisfaction in furthering the Lord's work than my service as a member of the Board of Trustees of LeTourneau College."

He served LeTourneau College, and then LeTourneau University, faithfully for many years, rotating off and on the board throughout the years.  In 2007, when I came to LETU as president, Earl was elected as a board member emeritus. His service to the school never ended. In 2012, he and his wife, Betty, created the Earl Roberts Endowed Scholarship Fund. From 1967 to 2013 - what a marathon of service to our university! Earl, you will be missed.