Richard R. (Rich) Roberts
1933 - 2021
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Richard (Rich) R. Roberts 3/6/1933 - 5/12/2021 Richard Ruvane Roberts, better known as Rich, passed away May 12, 2021. He was a beloved husband to wife, Frances (Harper) Roberts for almost 68 years. Born and raised in Wilmington, California on March 6, 1933 into a family of newspaper men, Richard "Rich" Roberts was raised as a journalist whether he knew that at the time or not. His birth day was noteworthy, as four days later on March 10, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the neighboring city of Long Beach. The family story is that his aunt was so afraid that he would be hurt during the earthquake, she passed baby Rich out the window to another family member standing nearby. His father, Preston "Pres", mother Lois Roberts, sister Marilyn and brother Robert "Bob" lived in a small house on the corner of "G" Street and Frigate Avenue, then later on "R" Street and Marine Avenue. Growing up, he quickly learned how to use a camera and how to spot a story while working for the local Press Journal after school and on weekends. Just three houses away from his home was a vacant lot, which was purchased by a family that included a beautiful young girl named Frances. Many long hours were spent by the Harper family cleaning out their lot that had become an unofficial dump for other people's trash. Rich offered to help the family and assisted with the building of their home out of the goodness of his heart, all the while getting better acquainted with Frances. Rich and Frances married and had two children, a son named Richard, and a daughter, Loraine. Rich was the Sports Editor of the family owned Wilmington Press-Journal and then later he was hired by the San Pedro News Pilot and, having played sports in high school, was always glad to cover the sports beat. He had an innovative writing style that grabbed people's interest. In interviewing athletes, he wrote from their perspective. He was promoted to the position of Sports Editor. He was given bigger and better assignments as he refined his journalistic skills, all the while carrying his camera just in case the newspaper's cameraman didn't get to the event on time. Little did he know how his unique photojournalistic skills would play out in later years. After a few years with the News Pilot, the Long Beach Independent/Press Telegram came knocking on his door. Their job offer was discussed by Rich's family and it was decided he would accept. Rich loved Big Band music of the 40's and 50's and he and Fran loved going to the Palladium and other places to dance the night away to various bands. Rich covered football, baseball, basketball, track and field and occasionally veered off to cover the Los Angeles Blades hockey team. It was then that the Los Angeles Times made him an offer. This was a big deal. The family agreed he should accept their offer. For several years he also covered the Outdoors beat. Rich's writing style was now legendary, and the Times took advantage of his impressive interviewing skills while crafting his stories that were now being read throughout the world. Over the years, Rich took Frances, Rick and Lori on camping trips all over the western states capping it off in 1973 with a driving trip to and from Alaska. Camping helped Rich to keep it all in perspective. No matter what national or international issues were occurring, a few days in the Sierra's cleared his mind and kept him grounded with family. It was at this time that Rich has decided to buy a boat. To be specific, a Catalina 22 sailboat. He named it the Nana Lee. Nana was his children's nickname for Rich's mom and Lee was Frances's middle name. Frances and Lori were happy that Rich enjoyed the sailboat, and occasionally sailed with him out of San Pedro or Long Beach harbors. However, Rick, thoroughly enjoyed sailing and, soon, Rich and Rick began competing in races. In the beginning, they had an excellent view of all of the competitors in their races as they did their best to finish a somewhat respectable last or nearly last place. When the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles approached, the LA Times sports editor approached Rich and said that he had heard he and his son raced sailboats. When Rich said, "Yes, that's right", the editor told Rich that he was being assigned to cover the Olympic's sailing venue. As with every other new challenge, he did an amazing job and gained world-wide notoriety. The TransPacific Yacht Race (Transpac), the Congressional Cup, the America's Cup, the World Match Racing Tour and the Whitbread Around the World Race (now know as The Ocean Race) all came to him for his journalistic expertise in representing their sailing events to the world. Rich and Frances also travelled all over the world for pleasure. Their daughter, Lori, at times accompanied them. In his legacy, he leaves us now with his family; wife, Frances Roberts, daughter Lori Roberts, son Rick Roberts, daughter-in-law Amy Roberts, granddaughter Selina Roberts, grandson Jeremy Roberts, great-grandsons Xavier Velasquez, Gabriel Velasquez, Christian Roberts and Damien Roberts nieces Kristi Kleign, Vicki Lofthus, nephew Kent Lofthus, Linda Roberts and great-niece Emma Kite. The family asks that you consider donating to one of two of Rich's favorite causes; the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital or the Wounded Warrior Project. May God bless us all with the fullness of life that Rich Roberts has enjoyed.


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Published in Palos Verdes Peninsula News on Jun. 5, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Daily Breeze
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5 entries
June 13, 2021
Mrs. Roberts and Family,
I am so terribly sorry to read of Mr Roberts Passing. I remember him as a very kind person. I grew up visiting my grandparents that lived directly across the alley from you. I spent fond time swimming with Loraine in your pool. My deepest condolences.
Kelley Kott Hall
Neighbor
June 7, 2021
Rich: Thank you for putting me in your columns and making me feel important in the local San Pedro sports world in the 60's. Rest in Peace, Vance Hansen W'59 p.s. The San Pedro News Pilot lives forever !
Vance Hansen
Friend
June 6, 2021
He was the most wonderful, caring,considerate, loving father. I remember going with him to see the Los Angeles Blades minor hockey team at the Long Beach Arena, going with him to see the Los Angeles Kings, the Los Angeles Rams play at the Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium. I sure do miss you Dad, very much and I love you so much. Your Daughter, Loraine (Lori) Roberts
Loraine L Roberts
Family
June 5, 2021
I have fond memories of Rich while growing up in San Pedro. He was an outstanding journalist and great guy. I enjoyed following his career path. His writing style was indeed innovative and compelling. My deepest condolences to the family.
John Barbieri
Acquaintance
June 5, 2021
Rich Robert’s was a great sports editor of the news pilot. He covered all our games when I was in high school. RIP
Jerry Rodich
Acquaintance
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