Richard Bruce Roberts, of Potlatch, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019, from heart failure. He was 86.
Richard was the son of William L. and Alice C. (Swanson) Roberts and was born in San Diego on March 8, 1933. He graduated from Herbert Hoover High School in San Diego in 1950. In 1953, he married Nancy Kay Milligan and that same year he was also drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served 18 months before receiving an honorable discharge. He and Nancy had two sons together, Jay and Jef.
Richard attended San Diego Jr. College before transferring to San Diego State College, where he received a B.A. in life sciences in 1959. While completing a research fellowship at the University of Idaho, he earned his master’s degree in organic chemistry, followed by a Ph.D. in entomology in 1965.
The “Bug Doctor” started his professional career with the U.S. Forest Service as a research entomologist. He married Betty J. Quick in 1971, and they had one son Bruce. In 1978, Richard accepted a position as an assistant professor at the University of Idaho. At the conclusion of that position, he went to work for Washington State University in the veterinary toxicology laboratory. His next position was with the Idaho State Laboratory in Boise. Richard was eventually recruited by the Idaho Power Company to create a laboratory for the analyzation of polychlorinated biphenyls in transformer oils.
In 1982, Richard married his fantastic wife, Judy A. Lewis, after she made him a delicious huckleberry pie. Richard retired in 1998 from Idaho Power, and he and Judy moved to Judy’s childhood farm in Potlatch.
In addition to his professional career, Richard was an accomplished handyman with sufficient skills to build the House on the Hill in Moscow, and later renovated a 1940s farmhouse that was in his wife Judy’s family.
Richard’s green thumb kept him growing things most of his adult life. He was an awesome shot with a rifle or pistol and enjoyed the great outdoors including fishing, camping, hunting and riding his four-wheeler.
Richard was a kind man with a generous heart that he freely shared with everyone. He was a wonderful husband, father and family man. To quote Grampa Milligan: “He’s a fine gentleman with a host of admirable qualities,” and will be missed by all who knew him.
Richard is survived by his wife Judy A. (Lewis); ex-wife Betty J. (Quick); sons Jay (Vicki), Jef (Sheryl) and Bruce (Marie); two stepdaughters, Diana Grau (Ernie) and Donna Gottschalkand (Brian); and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be held at the Freeze Cemetery in Potlatch 3 p.m. Saturday, followed by a potluck gathering at the Scenic Six Park. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Potlatch Ambulance Service, 515 Pine St., Potlatch, ID 83855.