|Kathy Roberts at a candlelight vigil
As Good as Gold
10:00 PM PST on Monday, December 11, 2006
The death of Kathy Roberts recently at age 76 leaves a gaping hole in San Bernardino's activist community.
Roberts, of San Bernardino, served as treasurer of the Inland Empire Debating Society and the Redlands Democratic Club,
and hosted monthly meetings of Citizens for Global Solutions in her home, the last time just a few days before her death.
She regularly attended the Democratic Luncheon Club's weekly meetings in San Bernardino, where her arrival would send
a murmur around the room, "Kathy's here."
It's difficult to find anyone willing to serve year after year for volunteer organizations, let alone someone with the
meticulous bookkeeping skills Roberts possessed.
"I can't think of anybody who's been more diligent ... in making sure the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed,"
said Mark Shepherd, past president of the Redlands Democratic Club.
"I don't know who will pick up that baton," he said.
For decades, Roberts organized meetings of the World Federalist Society, now Citizens for Global Solutions, a national
group working on issues that cross national borders such as terrorism, climate change and infectious diseases.
"Her efforts were extraordinary on behalf of peace," said Nancy White, another past president of the Redlands
club. "Her big passion was to bring about world peace."
Roberts was known for having a soft spot for strays, human and animal, taking in cats, dogs and people who needed help.
"She was always so positive towards people," White said. "Everybody was good in her eyes, and everybody had
something to contribute. She was just a very kind, endearing person."
Roberts was also dedicated to the environment, said Edith Smart, founder of the debate society. She recently fitted her
home for solar energy and drove a hybrid car.
She loved to discuss politics late into the night, said Lenore Gross, a friend who often caught rides to Democratic functions
in Roberts' car.
Roberts studied government at the University of Redlands, graduating in the early 1950s. The subject remained an interest
throughout her life.
"We had a lot in common: We liked to discuss serious things like how the government is doing," said Phyllis
Hacker, a friend since their student days at the University of Redlands.
"She was always nice to people, but she didn't hesitate to express her opinion if she disagreed with them,"
Hacker said. "She was very much for free speech."
The only child of a soldier -- her father was Brig. Gen. William Lynn Roberts -- she spent time in Asia as a girl. She
never married and had no children.
She threw her energy into causes she believed in, including voter registration.
Roberts didn't belong to any particular church, Hacker said. But "she did all the things churches do: help out poor
people, try to work for peace."
For 27 years, until she retired in 1997, she worked at Rettig Machine Inc. in Redlands, where she became the bookkeeper
after studying accounting at San Bernardino Valley College to learn the skill.
"She was as good as gold," said Franz Rettig, the company's owner. "A more honest, more loyal employee
you couldn't have asked for."
Plans for a memorial service in mid-January are pending.
Cassie MacDuff can be reached at 909-806-3068 or cmacduff@PE.com