Jeweler loved sharing customers' milestones
Noted jeweler William Roberts could always draw out the shyest person in a social gathering by breaking the ice with a conversation about a piece of jewelry the person was wearing, his daughter said.
“He would get them talking and find out the most amazing things about them, put them at ease and introduce them,” said his daughter Caroline Wentling of Point Breeze.
William Drake Roberts, formerly of Sewickley, died on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Longwood at Oakmont, while battling the effects of a stroke and Alzheimer's disease. He was 83.
The son of the late John M. Roberts III and Arminta Kapphan, Mr. Roberts was born prematurely, his family said, and since he was small, he learned to box to gain confidence.
Called “the Gentleman Boxer” because of his manners and disposition, Wentling said, Mr. Roberts won three consecutive Golden Glove championships, beginning in 1946.
“It never made sense to me,” Wentling said of her father's boxing career. “Knowing his personality type, it just didn't fit. He was easy going; he loved people. He was always very kind.”
By 1955, Mr. Roberts joined the John M. Roberts and Son Co. family jewelry store, founded Downtown in 1832 and having several locations throughout the region. The business operated for 165 years before closing in 1997.
“He loved it. He was involved in engagements, celebrations, anniversaries, Christmas gifts, graduations, all the big moments in a person's life,” Wentling said. “A young man's first watch, a little girl's first locket or charm bracelet.”
Another deep passion for Mr. Roberts was classic cars, his family said. He was a member of the group that founded the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and was well known for driving a 1920 bright yellow Mercer through Sewickley, where he lived, and in parades.
Mr. Roberts helped friend G. Whitney Snyder establish the Pittsburgh Transportation Museum, which began in Station Square, and eventually moved to the Frick Art and Historical Center's Car and Carriage Museum in Point Breeze. Mr. Roberts was a docent there until December.
In addition to his daughter, Caroline Wentling, Mr. Roberts is survived by: a son, W. Drake Roberts Jr. of Beechview, and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Caroline P. Moody; brothers John M. Roberts IV and Charles B. Roberts. A service will be conducted 1:30 p.m. Friday in the chapel of Longwood at Oakmont. A memorial celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Sewickley Presbyterian Church, 414 Grant St., with a reception following in the church's Robinson Room. Arrangements are being handled by the John A. Freyvogel Sons Inc. funeral home in Shadyside.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Armstrong man dies in single-vehicle crash
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- In Pittsburgh charges, feds target Uganda-based counterfeiting ring
- QB Smith is chief concern for Steelers’ defense
- Toast of the Town: Explore Lawrenceville’s many watering holes
- Steelers notebook: Brown leads WRs in Pro Bowl voting, Bell 2nd at RB
- Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates