On Thursday, April 23, 2020, Norris Cyril Roberts passed away at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah with his loving family at his side. We will forever miss him but find comfort in the fact that he is now free from the frustration of a body and mind that no longer allowed him to do the things that brought him joy.
Norris was born in Etna, Wyoming to Cyril and Lois Clark Roberts on June 11, 1936. He was the oldest of nine children. He grew up working on the family dairy farm, hunting and exploring the mountains of Star Valley, and learning that he was never going to be a very good fisherman. He was a graduate of Star Valley High School, class of 1954. He then moved to Salt Lake City to attend college. Though he loved Star Valley, and returned to visit as often as possible, he knew that farming life wasn’t for him.
Norris served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the South Australia mission from 1956–1958. It was a long way from home – and took him a month on a ship to get there – but he loved Australia and always wanted to return to visit someday. He was a life-long member of the church and served in many callings throughout his life, including Sunday school teacher, ward membership clerk, and counselor to the bishop.
On March 11, 1960, Norris married the love of his life, Joyce Anderson, in the Idaho Falls LDS temple. The couple resided in the Salt Lake City area until Norris was called to active duty with the Wyoming National Guard during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. He was sent to Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington to prepare to be deployed. Joyce and their first-born son soon joined him in Tacoma where they lived for the better part of a year knowing that Norris could be called to war at a moment’s notice. When the crisis ended and Norris was released from active duty the family returned to Salt Lake City and Norris resumed his career at Unysis (now L3-Harris) where he worked until his retirement, after 40 years of service.
Norris and Joyce purchased their home in the Rose Park neighborhood of Salt Lake City in 1963. It was supposed to be a “starter home” but they loved the area and the people of Rose Park so much that they stayed, raised their four children, and made life-long friendships. An avid gardener, Norris’s yard always had the greenest lawn and the prettiest flowers and was the envy of the neighborhood. He was very handy and particularly loved woodworking. He could find a way to fix nearly anything, often in his own unique way, which usually involved bailing twine and/or duct tape.
Norris was happiest in the outdoors, so family vacations were almost always spent camping, rafting rivers, and riding motorcycles or four wheelers. He enjoyed music of all kinds, from country to classical. One of his biggest regrets in life was that he wasn’t able to take piano lessons as a child because farm chores took precedence. His desire to play was so strong that he taught himself to play certain songs by ear on the piano and harmonica. Later, when his children asked for music lessons, he found a way to make it happen. Norris had a wonderful sense of humor and was well known for his teasing and practical jokes – skills that he passed along to all four of his kids, much to their mother’s chagrin. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, neighbor, and friend and his presence is already being missed by all those who love him.
The family would like to thank Inspiration Home Health and Hospice – especially Corbin and Susanna – for their kind and gentle care of Norris in the last weeks of his life. Our deepest gratitude also goes to Heather and Holly for using their skills to give loving care and comfort to their grandpa (and peace of mind to their grandma) during the final few days.
Norris is survived by Joyce, his wife of 60 years; his four children: Brad (Shauna) Roberts, Lorie Roberts (Cindy Hartung), Laniece Roberts (Chris Critchley), and Linda (Todd) Seegmiller; his grandchildren: Michael (Katie), Heather, Holly, Ashley, Scott (Stacie), Josh, Nicole, Daniel, and Jonah; his great-grandchildren: Clara and Graham; as well as his siblings: Gene (Gale) Roberts, Burtis (Teresa) Roberts, Darrell (Dianne) Roberts, Connie (Kevin) Bowers, and sisters-in-law Jeannine Roberts and Loyce Roberts. He was preceded in death by his father Cyril, his mother Lois, his brothers Bryce Roberts and Kendall Roberts, and his sisters Leah Joyce Roberts and Verla Prescott.
Due to COVID-19, no funeral or viewing will be held. If you have memories of Norris, the family asks that you write them down and send them by mail to the family home, or by email to: RobertsNews@aol.com so that we may be able to share in your memories of him in that way.
A graveside service and interment will be held at the Afton, Wyoming Cemetery.