Featured Resident – Lee Roberts
Lee Roberts was born in Lathrop, MO to George and Wilma Roberts. He was the third of four boys. When he was very young, the family moved to a farm in Kidder, MO. Growing up, he helped his dad on the farm. They grew corn and soybeans as well as raising cows and sheep. They used horses to pull the plow. His brother and him would ride a horse to school – three of them on one horse. He enjoyed swimming in the pond, riding his bicycle.
Lee attended a one room schoolhouse for four years. One teacher taught all eight grades. In fourth grade, Lee started attending school in Kidder. He liked school and his favorite subject was recess. He graduated from Kidder High School.
When Lee was fifteen, he asked out Norma Orr, a girl from school. There wasn’t much to do in Kidder. Most of their dates were going to the movies either in Cameron or Hamilton. The couple got engaged at Christmas in 1953. The couple married in 1955.
When Lee graduated, he went to work for a farmer for a short period of time. In 1954(?), he went to work for General Motors in Kansas City. It was an eighty mile drive each way.
The newlyweds moved to the Northeast part of Kansas City. They lived in the same apartment building as Lee’s brother. They enjoyed playing cards, Wahoo and dancing. However, Norma did not like living in the city and so the couple moved back to Kidder in 1956. Lee got meningitis and was hospitalized for ten days. Norma could not visit him. All she could do was slip notes under the door.
Lee recovered made a full recovery. In 1957, they welcomed their only child, Gary, into the family.
The family moved to Pleasant Valley, MO, in 1959. They got involved with the Pleasant Valley Civic Organization. Lee was on the board for most of the thirty years that they were involved, He and Norma ran the Bingo game for about eleven years.
Gary began to play little league baseball when he was eight. Lee was on the coaching team and moved up to coaching baseball as Gary got older. He played through high school. The family traveled all over for baseball tournaments
Lee retired from General Motors in 1984. He spent part of his time doing lots maintenance work for the Pleasant Valley Civic Organization. He also loved to garden. He grew corn, green beans and other vegetables for many years. Every Friday evening, they would get together with friends and play pitch.
The couple did some traveling over the years. They visited Florida, Indiana and Lee’s favorite, Colorado. He really enjoyed the time they spent in the mountains and at such attractions as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.. For their 50th wedding anniversary, Lee and Norma went to Las Vegas; Lee isn’t much of a gambler, but Norma really enjoyed it. They didn’t attend any of the shows but did lots of sight seeing. The couple also spent a lot of time in Branson, MO.
Lee’s health started declining and the house and yard became too much for Norma to handle on her own. The couple realized they had to do something.
In September 2022, they moved to Westbrook Villas from their house in Pleasant Valley. Lee was amazed at how easily the other residents accepted him and Norma. It felt like a good fit almost immediately. He says that the stiff is very thoughtful and he likes the activities especially cards and the music programs.
When asked about something he has learned in his life, he responded with Life is life. You can either be a part of it or you can be miserable. Lee also said that he is just plain old Lee. Norma said that he is super patient and very thoughtful.
Besides their son, Gary, the couple has a daughter-in-law (Rhonda), two granddaughters, two great granddaughters, a great grandson and a great great granddaughter. Lee and Norma also finished raising their niece, Cheryl, who is like a daughter to them.