Roberta Amey (Messerschmidt) Spartz (Zinck / Arnold) (1932 - 2018)

  • "Roberta was our friend in Juneau and Douglas and later in..."
    - Bruce and Marl Campbell

Roberta passed away peacefully March 7th, visited in her final days by family, and close friends, and faithfully cared for by the compassionate and loving staff of the Juneau Pioneer Home. Roberta was born into an established Juneau family in November of 1932, the granddaughter of Gustav H. Messerschmidt, a German immigrant who came to Juneau by steamship and established the San Francisco Bakery in the late 1890's; in 1914 he built the Messerschmidt Building on 2nd Street (now the Silver Bow). Her mother and father, George and Amey (Bates) Messerschmidt, along with other family members, continued to operate the business, later known as the Purity Bakery, until 1980.

Roberta grew up on 12th Street in Juneau surrounded by a large, extended family of her two brothers, George and Don, parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. She graduated from Juneau-Douglas High School in 1950, and briefly attended Washington State in Pullman. In 1951 she married Eugene Zinck and started a family. While raising her family in Juneau in the fifties and early sixties, she worked for the Territorial Legislature and worked in the office of Alaska's first governor, Bill Egan. In 1963 Roberta married Keith Arnold. After the 1964 Alaska earthquake the family moved to Anchorage, where they were active in a number of outdoor activities – hunting, fishing, skiing – and enjoying their cabin in Halibut Cove. While her five sons were growing up, Roberta worked for many years at the law offices of Ely Guess and Rudd for Gene Guess and later worked on Guess's political campaigns; she worked as his assistant when he served in the state legislature. In her fifties, after her children were adults and following the death of her husband, Keith, Roberta continued her studies and completed an undergraduate degree in Archeology at the University of Alaska Anchorage; she furthered her studies by completing the course work towards a master's degree at UAF. She was very passionate about her archeological work and over the years she joined an international dig in Ireland and several digs around Alaska. In 1983 she married George "Pat" Spartz and for 26 years together they were actively involved at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, as well as traveling, fishing, and enjoying musical performances. In 2001 they returned to Juneau and bought a house on Douglas Island, continuing to travel and staying active at St. Brendan's Church until Pat's death in June of 2009. Roberta was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009 and subsequently moved into the Pioneer Home. Roberta loved to read, to travel, knit, garden, bake, listen to music, research and to share family history and she loved her home town of Juneau.

She is survived by sons Kirk (Mary Jo Stanley), Dean (Cindy), Brian (Teresa), and Eric (Beate) Zinck; step son Jon Spartz and step daughters Tracy Spartz-Campbell (Gary), Gina Spartz, India Spartz (Alex), and Robin Spartz-Hays (Robert); seven grandchildren; six great grand-children; four step-grandchildren; two step-great grandchildren; her youngest brother, Don Messerschmidt (Kareen); and many cousins, nieces and nephews as well as several long time, dear friends. Roberta was preceded in death by her youngest son, Gary Evan Zinck (10- 1999) and younger brother, George Henry Messerschmidt (11-2017).

A service is planned for June 16th in Juneau at St. Brendan's Episcopal Church. Memorial donations may be made to the Juneau Pioneer Home (4675 Glacier Highway, Juneau, 99801); St. Brendan's Episcopal Church (4207 Mendenhall Loop Rd, Juneau, 99801); or The Glory Hole, 247 S. Franklin St., Juneau, 99801.
Religious Service Information
St Brendan's Episcopal Church
4207 Mendenhall Loop Rd
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 789-5152
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Published in The Juneau Empire from Apr. 15 to May 14, 2018