Established in 1875
Gerald “Jerry” Roberts, 79, of Urbana passed away Good Friday, March 30, 2018, at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was at peace and ready to go meet Jesus.
Jerry was born January 6, 1939, in Effingham, the son of Cadwallader and Dorothy Roberts. He married Karolyn Amerson of Antigo, WI on May 25, 1963, in Urbana. She survives.
He is survived by two sons; Randy Roberts (Tammy) of Urbana, and Ronald Roberts of Wisconsin and three grandchildren; Benjamin, Nathaniel and Brianna (Urbana).
He was preceded in death by his parents; two sisters; Dorothy Bell, Lois Oakley and one brother, Lloyd Roberts.
Jerry was a graduate of the National Radio Institute of Washington, DC. He began his career with the Coordinated Science Lab at the U of I. He engaged in basic and applications research in physics and electrical engineering, sponsored by the military service, NASA and National Science Foundation. He was responsible for the layout, design and construction of experimental electronic chassis for high-precision navigational instruments.
He also helped supervise grad students on research projects and cross country trips to Wallops Island, VA for the purpose of being on location for the launching of CSL’s first rocket at NASA in a series of experiments probing the ionosphere. He kept busy with construction, maintenance and operation of the mass of electronic equipment necessary for such a complex program housed at the site. Following that he was involved with the data processing of the abundant supply of magnetic telemetry tape recording from the rocket shots. The latter part of his career was at the U of I Computer Lab where he worked in research on the early stages of the plasma panel TV screen under Professor Larry Webber.
Jerry also invented a few electronic devices, but was too humble to patent them. He was also a HAM radio enthusiast.
He was able to retire early from the U of I after 35 years of service. He and Karolyn moved to Jasper, IN for about 15 years. After his health started to decline in recent years they moved back to the area to be close to family.
Jerry loved his grandchildren dearly and always loved to know about everything they were doing.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made online to lifelineconnect.org towards the building program where all donations are currently being matched, or checks can be sent to Lifeline Connect, PO Box 3332, Urbana, IL, 61803.
Arrangements are being handled by Renner-Wikoff Chapel. Family Graveside Services will be held Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 11:00 a.m. at Mt. Olive Cemetery in Mayview. Pastor David Rogers of Apostolic Life is officiating.