Longtime ACU faculty member, church historian dies Sept. 12

For immediate release

September 14, 1998

ABILENE - R. L. Roberts, Jr., 73, library faculty member at Abilene Christian University for 21 years and prominent church historian, died early Saturday morning, in his home at 602 E. N. 18th.

The funeral service is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, at University Church of Christ, with funeral arrangements handled by Elliott-Hamil Funeral Home.

Roberts was born in Chattanooga, Tenn., March 11, 1925. He graduated >from Hollis, Okla., High School in 1943. He graduated from ACU in 1947, and earned the Master of Library Science degree from North Texas State University in 1967. He married Johne Garner of Belton, Texas, May 30, 1946.

Roberts preached for several Texas Churches of Christ: in Seymour, Alvord, Keller and at McGregor Park in Houston. He taught Bible and Church History at Fort Worth Christian College from 1962 to 1965. In l966 he joined the library faculty at Abilene Christian University. He retired from the ACU library in l987 and devoted himself to research in restoration church history.

Roberts was baptized in 1940. In 1972 he became a deacon at Abilene’s University Church of Christ, and in 1985 became an elder. He served as chairman of the elders, then as coordinator for the elders where his knowledge of restoration history, the Greek language, church music, and biblical texts made him an invaluable advisor to the ministerial staff and the elders of the church.

He wrote numerous articles on restoration history and New Testament topics for Restoration Quarterly, Firm Foundation and 20th Century Christian. He edited the Union List of Restoration Periodicals in Christian College Libraries. In 1994 Pepperdine University awarded him the Distinguished Christian Service Award.

In recent years Roberts directed tours of restoration sites in Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. He also led tours to early church sites in Texas including many of the early Spanish missions. He assisted Dr. B. J. Humble in preparation of video films depicting early restoration history in the United States, Ireland, Scotland and Engtand.

Survivors include his wife, Johne, of the home in Abilene; three sons: Garner Roberts of Abilene, Dwight Alan Roberts of Austin, and Dr. John Paul Roberts of San Antonio; one daughter, Carol Ann Campbell of Flower Mound, Texas; five sisters: Mildred Shepherd of Burkesville, Kentucky, Mrs. Mary Hayes of Scottsdale, Arizona, Mrs. Bettye Blay of Abilene, Mrs. Bill Clovis of St. Marys, West Virginia, and Mrs. Jerry Hill of Pleasanton, Texas; one brother, Bill Roberts of Spur, Texas; eight grandchildren: Cary Roberts of Austin, Koy Roberts of Denton, Aaron Roberts of Corpus Christi, Cody Campbell of Palo Alto, California, Cord Campbell of Flower Mound, Texas, Gabriel Roberts of Austin, Nicolle Roberts of Austin and Jake Roberts of Austin; one great-grandchild, Hanna Roberts of Corpus Christi; one brother, Dr. J. W. Roberts, preceeded him in death. He is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Roberts, Sr.

Services: Eddie Sharp, Dr. Carl Brecheen

Memorial gifts: Abilene Christian University Library, Christian Service Center of Abilene

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Last update: Sept. 14, 1998
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