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Lucien Edward "Ned" Roberts

Lucien Edward "Ned" Roberts

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June 12, 2015
I met the kindest gentleman one day, while strolling through the spider daylilies at Oakes in Knoxville. It was one of Oakes' annual Open House days, when the Hem Society was in town. He noticed my close attention to the spiders and struck up a conversation, and I told him how wild I was for tall spiders and how unhappy I was that hybridization had gone in other directions that did not please me. I saw that I had found a kindred spirit. He was a tall, quiet man with an easy smile, wearing what I'd describe as "field clothing" including his trademark sun hat; and he was in no hurry. I liked him instantly. He introduced himself simply as Ned. I said, "Are you the Ned of 'Easy Ned'?" and he smiled and said yes. We talked for some time about daylilies and I realized he was a breeder; his intelligence and knowledge were obvious; but I was entirely ignorant of the name "Ned Roberts", or of his stature and many accomplishments---or that he was Dr. Ned Roberts. That's the kind of mild, unpretentious man he was. He met people with genuine interest and attention, without promoting himself.

I was a busy housewife and mother who had driven four hours to Knoxville for what I called "my annual daylily pilgrimage". I never did get around to joining the Hem Society as Ned had urged me to; but miraculously, I met him again two years later----same time, same place. Neither of us had been back to Knoxville until then, and we both chose the same day and hour to visit the spider daylily bed. Lucky me. I was so glad to see him again.

I was heartily sorry to hear of Ned's passing. People can't live forever, but we needed a couple more decades of Ned Roberts. I'm sure he touched thousands of lives---in the way that people who are both kind and insightful do. How lucky all of us were who knew him, even if only for a short afternoon.

I greatly appreciate the family photos posted, allowing me to see those who were dearest to Ned. I will always remember him.
June 27, 2012
I had a work study job as an assistant to Ned at UNM. Joe, you want he beer, he asked on that hot Spring day in his office at UNM. I wasn't quite trustful of people at the time, and in fact, I also didn't drink any alcohol. But, here stood in front of me this tall, sincere, and the earthiest of a human being that I had ever encountered in a suit and tie. He always made me feel like I "belonged," and that he was not just my boss and mentor, but someone I knew for a long time...that special feeling that only a long and trusted friend can earn through many years. I almost said "no thank you," but I said yes on that hot spring day. I haven't had a beer since that day, and I'll never forget that special moment when I had a beer with one of the earthiest, kindest, and gentlest of a human being. Thanks Ned...for making me feel like I counted, and thanks for some of those old New Mexico stories when you were involved with politics.
September 07, 2009
As the days and weeks pass, and as you return to life's routine, may you continue to feel comforted by the love and support of family and friends.
August 25, 2009
Betty, Ned & I played together in Carrollton in the early 40s. "Ned the Red" was even then a memorable guy! I remember once when we had gone with his mother to the grocery store. Coming home in the car, Eleanor turned around to us in the back seat and admonished Ned, "Now, don't you peel a one of those bananas!" He didn't, but when we got home he had completely eaten one by putting his finger into the hole at the top where it had been attached to the stem and digging out the good part! Our fathers were both on the faculty of West Georgia College, his in history, mine in education. Ned took great pleasure in the fact(?) that one of his ancestors was a horse thief. We played with old confederate money his folks had, and he loved to play Japanese Prison Camp - I was always the prisoner, needless to say!
I saw Ned once years later when my dad stopped to pick up a young hitchhiker. It was Ned Roberts! He was on his way to a basketball game in middle Georgia. What a surprise that was! We took him to Macon, I guess, and I never saw or heard from him again.
I love to remember those early days, playing barefoot in the red clay dust on hot Georgia summer days. Ned, Porter Claxton and I were an inseperable trio. I am sorry that I did not think to Google him sooner. My condolences to you. You must have had a happy life with him, full of surprises and fun.
August 25, 2009
Betty, Ned & I played together in Carrollton in the early 40s. "Ned the Red" was even then a memorable guy! I remember once when we had gone with his mother to the grocery store. Coming home in the car, Eleanor turned around to us in the back seat and admonished Ned, "Now, don't you peel a one of those bananas!" He didn't, but when we got home he had completely eaten one by putting his finger into the hole at the top where it had been attached to the stem and digging out the good part! Our fathers were both on the faculty of West Georgia College, his in history, mine in education. Ned took great pleasure in the fact(?) that one of his ancestors was a horse thief. We played with old confederate money his folks had, and he loved to play Japanese Prison Camp - I was always the prisoner, needless to say!
I saw Ned once years later when my dad stopped to pick up a young hitchhiker. It was Ned Roberts! He was on his way to a basketball game in middle Georgia. What a surprise that was! We took him to Macon, I guess, and I never saw or heard from him again.
I love to remember those early days, playing barefoot in the red clay dust on hot Georgia summer days. Ned, Porter Claxton and I were an inseperable trio. I am sorry that I did not think to Google him sooner. My condolences to you. You must have had a happy life with him, full of surprises and fun.
July 10, 2008
I did not find this site until today. When I began collecting dayliies 10 years ago, Ned's were the ones I saved for and bought first. Today I have 19 of his cultivars and never fail to bless him as each blooms. He was an extraordinary visonary I regret having never met. My love, gratitude, envy and sympathy are sent to all in his family. God bless everyone of you.
April 12, 2007
Dear Betty:

I did not know until today about Ned´s passing. I am really sorry. As you know Ned was like a father to me during my scholarship in NM back in the 80s and later on a great help for developping my business in the US in the 90´s. We had a lot of time to talk during our long trips crossing the US and I always spoke about his love to you.

Ned was this kind of person this world needs. I will remember him and I will miss him.

Now I have four children. You will remind about the health problems of the first one. He now is doing perfect thanks God.

Betty, I would like to tell you a lot of things but I will summarize all in one: I will miss Ned.

Take care.

Tomás
March 29, 2007
I had not met Ned Roberts but he is famous to all serious day lily lovers for his beautiful and unusual creations. I am very sorry to see him go but he will live forever in our hearts and minds and in the lovely daylilies he made. Betsy
November 20, 2006
Betty, I hope you will take care of yourself and the Daylilies that You and your husband grew. I just saw one of his web pages and looked at all of them and they are great. I meet you and your husband this past year in Fla. He gave me some suggestions on which spiders to buy and which gardens to go to. I just ordered one of his plants from the Lilyauction this week. His name and plants will go on forever and I'm sure he is with god now. God Bless , Angelo in Virginia . .
October 19, 2006
Betty,

I guess we didn't know that this was availble to us, so forgive us for not responding sooner. After talking to you today, I feel compelled to write something.

I remember when I first met you and Ned. I was so in awe of all your accomplishments, both as a couple and as individuals, I couldn't see the humanity and friendship you both offered. Since then, I've gotten to know you and know that Ned was a warm and friendly (and especially)knowledgeable person who was willing to share his knowledge and his friendship with everyone. You were blessed to have him for 50 plus years. We wish you a peace which can only come with time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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H. Skinwalker

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