Lynden resident, William Stanley "Bill" Roberts died Monday, September 9, 2013. He was 95 years old. Bill was born April 23, 1918 in Kalispell, MT, the only child of William and Jessie DeFord Roberts. His early years were spent in Southeastern British Columbia where his father was a Canadian Customs Officer, stationed in Flathead, B.C. At the age of five, the family was transferred to southern Alberta where he attended several rural schools sometimes riding eight miles a day on a horse through open fields. During the Alberta winters this was sometimes quite exciting. He attended high school in the town of Cardston and was active in music and sports, particularly hockey, tennis and golf. Upon his graduation from high school in 1936 he attended the University of Alberta at Edmonton. The following year he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he majored in business statistics. After graduating in March 1940 with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration, he worked for Munsingwear, Inc in Minneapolis, MN as a research statistician until he was inducted into the army in April 1941. He was in the first group of "draftees" that were sent to duty in what was then the Army Air Corps. After six weeks of basic training at Ft. George Wright, Spokane, WA he went to duty in the Geiger Field weather squadron, where he was a weather observer. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Bill was transferred to San Antonio, TX to work in the AGO Machine Records Unit. In August 1942 he was accepted as an officer candidate in the Quartermaster Corps, and after completing OCS was commissioned and went to duty at Jeffersonville, IN. He and 23 other officers were among the first to attend a special school at IBM headquarters at Endicott, NY. He served in the Quartermaster Corps as an electric accounting machine officer at various depots, and a period of two months at OQMG in Washington D.C. He was discharged from the service in the fall of 1945 with a rank of First Lieutenant. In June 1955 Bill accepted a position as head of the Statistical Service Center at the University of Idaho. He was in charge of Administrative Data Processing in the Computer Services Department until he retired from the University in October of 1973. In August 1956 Bill married Hilda Boerhave of Pullman, WA. At that time she was the Nursing Advisor at Washington State College and later went on to become the first Director of the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education in Spokane, WA through WSU. Bill was a member of the First Presbyterian Church where he had sung in the Chancel Choir since 1957 and served several years as an elder. He was also a member of the Elks, Moscow Central Lions Club, the Pullman Community Concert Band and a member and manager of the Vandal Boosters Non-marching Pep Band. He played the trumpet and trombone in both those bands. He was a charter member of the Washington-Idaho Symphony, in which he played the cello for twelve years. While wintering in Yuma, AZ Bill played cello in the Yuma Chamber Orchestra. In 1970 he and several other local musicians formed the "Hog Heaven Seven," which expanded to seventeen members, who held monthly meetings to play the music of the thirties and forties. The group generally did not accept invitations to play out until January 2002. It became known as the "Hog Heaven Big Band." Bill played tenor sax, trumpet and trombone in the group. In addition to music, Bill enjoyed golf, bowling, fishing, billiards and gardening. Preceded in death by his wife, Hilda in Sept. 2011; Bill is survived by numerous nieces and nephews. A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday, Sept. 13, 11:00 am at Monumenta Cemetery in Lynden. Memorials in Bill's name are suggested to: Computer Services, Business Office, University of Idaho, 709 S. Deakin St., Moscow, ID 83844. You are invited to share your memories and condolences in the online guest book at www.gilliesfuneralhome.com.
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Published in Bellingham Herald on Sept. 12, 2013