John Manley Roberts, M.D., pediatric orthopaedic surgeon, died on August 8, 2020 in New London, NH. He was born on February 27, 1932 to Frederick William Roberts, M.D. and Frances Cheney Roberts in New Haven, Connecticut. Dr. Roberts is remembered as a founder of Children's Hospital in New Orleans where the medical library and an annual visiting professorship bear his name. His leadership while Chief of Staff at the Shriners Hospital for Children
in Springfield, Massachusetts is commemorated by the John Manley Roberts Teaching Center. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1949, Yale University, B.A. English 1953 and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, M.D. 1957. He served a surgical residency at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. Roberts held successive professorships in orthopaedic surgery at Louisiana State University, Tulane University, Brown University and Boston University. At Brown University, he was awarded M.A. ad eundem in 1987. He was honored by the Outstanding Educator award at Boston University Medical School in 1993. He retired as Professor of Orthopedics Emeritus from Boston University in 1999. He was honored by invitations to lecture on pediatric orthopedics to national orthopaedic associations and university medical centers on six continents but enjoyed greatest satisfaction working with residents and students at home and outreach clinics in Cyprus, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as regional clinics in the United States. He was elected President of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society in 1982-3, the year of its merger with the national Pediatric Orthopedic Study Group. He served on the Board of Directors for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 1972-3 and as Chair of the Council of Musculoskeletal Specialty Societies, 1987-9. He was elected Vice-President of the American Orthopaedic Association, 1996-7. He transitioned to Blue Hill, Maine in 1999 where he could sail, and continued to see patients for consultation and non-operative treatment in Bangor and Ellsworth until 81 years of age in 2013. He served on the Corporation of Eastern Maine Health Systems, 2007-13 and was chair of the Education Committee for the Board of Directors of The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME 2004-6. He became an enthusiastic student of history which led him to be a popular seminar leader and founding member of Colloquy Downeast, a senior learning program on the Blue Hill Peninsula. When it came time to downsize, he and his wife Rusty returned to his happy place, New London NH, where he earlier spent summers racing Star boats on Sunapee and where the Lake Sunapee Yacht Club Teaching Award bears his name. In New London, he continued to be active in adult education as study leader and chair of the Curriculum Committee for Adventures in Learning (AIL), a program affiliated with Colby-Sawyer College; he was appointed to the AIL Board of Directors in 2015. In his own words, he liked "raising sail and turning the engine off, rough cut orange marmalade, surgical precision, the Erroll Garner trio, Old English sheepdogs, New Orleans food, reading history and biography, bedside teaching rounds with curious medical students and residents, British TV mysteries, travel to learn, Georgian architecture, New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox, good discussions, good jokes and good friends. He did not like "snakes of any kind, parsnips, stubbornness, punk rock, poor surgical preparation, the word 'obvious', misguided hospital administration, waiting in line, failure to provide safety nets for those less fortunate, lobster pot warps, excuses, one-and-out college basketball, and unenlightened self-interest." He died still in love with Edith (Rusty) Nichols Roberts, his wife of 43 years, and immensely proud of his children: Manley Woolfolk Roberts, Charlotte, NC, and Carter Street Roberts, Chevy Chase MD, as well as their spouses Jennifer Watson Roberts and Jackie Prince Roberts; and his grandchildren Montana, Manley, Christian, Street and Eliza Roberts. He is also survived by his sister, Frances Elizabeth Wilson of New London NH and her four daughters Janet, Sarah, Marion and Emma, as well as his ex-wife Eleanor Woolfolk Roberts, and his stepsons Blake, Todd and Kermit Escudier. In lieu of flowers, please send, if you wish, a donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children
or New London Hospital.
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Published by The Times-Picayune from Aug. 12 to Aug. 13, 2020.