Francis D. Roberts
1938 - 2019
George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home
1305 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02492
Francis Donald Don Roberts, 81, of Dover MA, passed away on October 15 at home in the presence of his wife, Nancy, and his daughters. Born on January 18, 1938 in Utica, NY, the youngest son of the late Francis J. and Agnes McDermott Roberts, he graduated from Utica College of Syracuse University on full scholarship and obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Cornell University. At the start of his career, he worked as a research chemist with Colgate Palmolive in NJ and NY. In 1976, he moved to Boston to become Vice President of Research and Development for the Kendall Company, at that time a subsidiary of Colgate. Beginning in 1989, he led several biotech startups, including serving as President of Periodontix, before retiring in 2002. During his career, he received more than 15 patents for technological advances. Don was a passionate and gifted athlete, proficient in every sport he tried. As an adult, he concentrated on golf and tennis as a member of the Dedham Country and Polo Club. His focus, drive, and sense of fair play made him an outstanding competitor. He was also devoted to music and singing throughout his life, participating in church choirs and, following his retirement, enthusiastically singing with the Highland Glee Club, an all-male chorus. Don gave freely of himself in every endeavor, rising to leadership positions because of his principled, positive attitude, his commitment to achievement, and his patient but demanding manner. In his later years, when illness struck, he always remained positive and showed true humility in gratitude for the gifts of friendship and assistance provided by those around him. Deeply devoted to faith and family through- out his life, he was immensely proud of his four accomplished daughters and was gratified that when they moved away, they gathered frequently at the family retreat in Chatham bringing the grandchildren and keeping the family close and connected. He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis J. and Agnes McDermott Roberts of Utica, NY, his brother, James Robert Roberts and his wife Catherine, of Silver Spring, MD. He is survived by Nancy (Crowder), his wife of 55 years; his children: Christine Roberts, Dover, MA; Karen R. Sessions, spouse Alex, and grandchildren Stuart and Amy, Pasadena, CA; Sue Roberts, spouse Amy, and grandchildren Kellan and Cael, Shoreline, WA; and Kate Roberts, San Francisco, CA. Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, October 20 from 3:00 PM | 6:00 PM at George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 1305 Highland Avenue, Needham. A Funeral Mass will be held on Monday, October 21 at 10:00 AM at the Church of the Most Precious Blood, 30 Centre Street, Dover, MA. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Francis Donald (Don) Roberts to Catholic Charities Boston or the Highland Glee Club Scholarship Fund Online guestbook at
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Published by The Press from Oct. 18 to Nov. 1, 2019.
3:00p.m. - 6:00p.m.
George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home
1305 Highland Avenue, Needham, MA 02492
Funeral Mass
Church of the Most Precious Blood
30 Centre Street, Dover, Massachusetts
Funeral services provided by:
George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home
Sponsored by George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home.
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All 5 of your "girls" are in my thoughts and prayers I LOVE you ALL !
Bridget Delaney
October 18, 2019