there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven ... A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted ... A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away. - Ecclesiastes|
It must surely be a heavy burden for the Roberts family in Elizabeth.
In less than a week after the historic Roberts Store and Hardware burned to the ground, its' longtime owner, curator and keeper of the family business from several generations, has died.
The 80-plus James H. Roberts passed Monday in St. Joseph Hospital.
The Wirt County community had been mourning the loss of the 125-year-old business, after arsonists ignited the old wooden building during the early morning hours of June 14.
Now they mourn Mr. Roberts.
Roberts and his helpers were much a part of the rural community, doing those extra favors and walking those extra miles to be helpful. Besides, the old store was chocked full of items dating back a hundred years, thousands of items, far beyond the expected.
The large, sprawling store provided an important service to the community, but it was also a tourist stop for the curious.
Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Elizabeth United Methodist Church with the Rev. Harold Francis officiating. Burial will be in the K & P Cemetery with full military rites.
Visitation will be from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Matheney-Pomroy Funeral Home in Elizabeth.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 114, Elizabeth WV 26143.
Mr. Roberts is survived by his wife of 53 years, Patricia Higgins Roberts; three daughters, Sara Dorothy Roberts of Marietta, OH, Charlotte and Carl Perham of Fairfax, VA and Christy Roberts of Kitty Hawk, NC. Also surviving, a sister, Elizabeth Roberts Bare of Hinton, WV.
He was a graduate of Wirt Co. High School where he was recognized as an outstanding athlete, receiving a football scholarship to Ohio State where he graduated with a BS degree in 1948.
He played football for two years for Baldwin-Wallace College. He served in the Navy during World War II, in the South Pacific. He received a MA degree from the University of Michigan in 1949, after which he returned to Elizabeth to operate the Roberts Store.
He served as chairman of the Wirt County Republican Executive Committee for 24 years, was a member of the WV Republican Executive Committee for 20 years and was recognized as a Distinguished West Virginian.
Roberts belonged to the farm Bureau, Lions Club, American Legion and Cherry River Navy.
He was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Phi Epsilon Kappa National Physical Education Honorary and the WVU School of Physical Education Visiting Committee.
He was an inductee of the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame, WVU Mountaineer Athletic Club and WVU Gold Coat Member.
He was the former President of the Wirt County Bank, and a chairman of the board of WesBanco, Elizabeth.
6/14/06 Elizabeth's Historic Roberts Store Burns
6/15/06 Arrests Made In Elizabeth Fire
6/19/06 Elizabeth's Inferno:2006