Thomas Roberts

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Dr. Thomas George Roberts - NEW MARKET, AL - On June 15, 2013 we lost Dr. Thomas George Roberts to Alzheimer's disease. He passed away in his home in New Market, AL surrounded by a loving family and friends who are saddened by the loss of this fine father, husband, grandfather, and friend. Tom was born on April 27, 1929 to Emma Lee Stanley Roberts and Thomas Lawrence Roberts in Fort Smith Arkansas. He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Anne Harbin Roberts, brother Hershell Lawrence Roberts, sister Virginia Roberts West, and best friend Milton Hawie. He is survived by his wife Betty McElyea Roberts, brothers Everett Neil Roberts, David Roberts, and John Roberts, children, stepchildren, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Tom and Anne have three children, Lawrence Dewey Roberts, Regina Anne Roberts Carter, and Marcia Roberts Dale Harmon. Regina is married to Kelly Carter and they have three sons Matthew, Christopher, and Joshua. Marcia is married to Dennis Harmon and Marcia has three children Daniel, Jeffrey, and Bethany. After losing his wife Anne in 1994 he married Betty McElyea in 1995. Betty had lost her husband Wyman Eugene McElyea, to cancer in 1991 and they began a new chapter of life living and travelling like honeymooners and savoring every minute with the grandchildren. Betty has three children Debbie McGee, Murray McElyea and Tim McElyea. Debbie has two children Keri and Clint. Murray is married to Robin Campbell McElyea and they have two girls Christina and Jennifer. Murray has a son, Tony McElyea from a prior marriage. Tim is married to Michelle Dietrich McElyea. Tim has two children from a prior marriage Timothy Adam and Alycia. Michelle has two girls from a previous marriage Danielle and Holly Anne. Tom lived a very full life and valued knowledge. For many people Tom was the smartest person they would ever meet. He had a B.S. and M.S. in Physics from the University of Georgia and earned his Ph. D. from the North Carolina State University at Raleigh. Perhaps Malcolm Forbes best described Tom's view of life, learning and education: Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. Tom was always eager to explore, learn, and debate. He would often say that he would be happy to debate any topic and then ask, which side do you want? In his own words he may not be right but he is always certain. Some people may not understand this man but he was a rare mixture of great intelligence and education wrapped in the humility of someone who realized the limits of knowledge and human understanding. His passion for life, learning, and decency earned him the respect of his peers, family, and friends. After serving in the Air Force, Tom worked for the US Army Missile Command as a Research Physicist from 1958 to 1985. He served as a team member, group leader, branch chief, and chief scientist for the Directed Energy Directorate. After retiring he worked for Physical Dynamics, Inc., SAIC, and founded his own business TECHNOCO. He served on faculty positions at UAH, Athens College, and Southern Institute of Technology. He was a Fellow with the American Optical Society and numerous other professional organizations. Tom was an active member of the Cobra Club of Savannah Georgia. Over his career he was awarded over seventy patents, published numerous papers and his memoirs, and was awarded leadership positions in industry and academia. Tom loved golf and taking his family on fishing trips. No one really knows how good he was at golf but his goal was to someday shoot his age. Fishing was a certain success because he loved trips to the trout farm. He enjoyed watching the kids have fun and that was a true joy for Tom. That is not to say that he did not love fresh fried trout because he did and Miss Betty's cooking always made him smile. We will still fry fish for you Tom. After retirement he developed knee problems so he began power lifting. As a 60 year old power lifter he entered and won numerous competitions. That is how Tom faced life - head on, full throttle. Tom will be missed by those who are fortunate to have known him. He lived his life with a sincere desire for knowledge and valued those around him. He was generous, caring, strong, and wanted the absolute best for everyone he knew. It is sad to say goodbye but it is comforting to look back over his life and remember the smiles, laughter, and passion that he brought to those he touched. We will miss you Tom. Visitation was held on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at Berryhill Funeral Home in Huntsville, AL at 4:00 PM followed by a memorial service at 6:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Alzheimer's Foundation of America in Tom's name to help the more than five million Americans who suffer from this devastating disease. Http:// or 1-866-AFA-8484. Berryhill Funeral Home Huntsville, AL Savannah Morning News June 23, 2013 Please sign our Obituary Guest Book at

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Berryhill Funeral Home - Huntsville
2305 Memorial Parkway NW
Huntsville, AL 35810
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Published in Savannah Morning News from June 16 to June 23, 2013
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