Dr. Albert Sidney Roberts Jr.

Published 5:22 pm Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Dr. Albert Sidney Roberts Jr., loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, and a professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering at Old Dominion University (ODU), died November 16, 2020.

He was the son of the late Albert Sidney Roberts and Lorena Jefferson of Washington, NC.  He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mary Llew Bowers, and children Dr. Leigh Roberts married to Sandy of Chicago, IL, Albert Sidney Roberts III married to Barbara of Woodinville, WA; and their three sons: Evan, Jack and Riley; Ellyn Schanze married to Keith of Bath, NC, and her two sons Justin and Nathan Pippert; and Amanda Barcalow married to Whitley of Virginia Beach, VA; and their daughters Emily and Sarah.  There are two great grandchildren Kylie and Jace Pippert.

Dr. Roberts was a 1955 graduate of Washington High School where he played football and spent years playing the saxophone and clarinet in big bands. He graduated from NC State University in mechanical engineering in 1957 and was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.  He worked for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, PA, while pursuing a masters in engineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960.  He returned to NC State for his PhD in nuclear physics in 1965 at which time he accepted a position at Old Dominion University as a founding professor of ODU’s school of engineering.  Dr. Roberts was invited to spend five weeks in Romania lecturing in engineering programs in the spring of 1968 followed by a 15 month sabbatical with his family in Sweden at the Swedish Atomic Energy program from 1968 to 1969. Over the course of a long academic career, Dr. Roberts spent time as the chair of the ODU faculty senate and was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Although his PhD was in nuclear physics, he was often referred to as more of a Renaissance man because of his varied community interests and wide social network.  He enjoyed playing tennis until his early 80’s and was an avid sailor of a 26 foot sloop.  He served on the board of the Generic Theatre, adored opera and was a long term member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, serving on the vestry and various diocesan committees.

A lifetime scholar, he should be remembered for his open mindedness and inclusivity which he shared generously with his family. Whether new languages, travel, music, reading, culinary delights or writing,  he was a true intellectual, much beloved, and dearly missed.

Donations in his honor can be made to: St. Andrews Episcopal Church,1009 W. Princess Ann Road, Norfolk VA 23507 or The Hurrah Players Inc., 485 St. Paul’s Blvd, Norfolk VA 23510.