JoAnn Roberts

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
JoAnn Roberts

JoAnn Hart Roberts, granddaughter of Preston, Idaho's first city attorney and the oldest child of Preston Citizen's 1987 Citizen of the Year, died Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, at Franklin County Hospital in Preston from the effects of Parkinson's disease. She was 77 years old. Her son Paul was by her side.

She was born Jan. 31, 1935, in Logan, Utah, to Marcus and Clara Hart. She was the oldest of their nine children. The young Hart family moved to Preston in 1944. JoAnn attended Preston High School, where her father taught LDS Seminary. She was an excellent student, with an infectious laugh and a great sense of humor.

While attending Utah State Agricultural College, she met Perry T. Roberts of Lewiston, Utah. They married in the LDS Temple in Logan in December 1953.

During the next 30 years she moved with her husband as he pursued his medical and military career from Logan to Chicago, San Francisco, Texas, England, Texas again, Ogden, and finally to Cape Girardeau.

The product of a family of educators, she put her own education on hold early to help pay for her husband's medical degree and then to parent a growing family that ultimately included five sons and two daughters. She stressed the education of her children.

Her marriage frustrated her for decades. In 1980, it began to unravel leading to a painful divorce in 1983. She resumed her education, receiving a bachelor's degree summa cum laude in 1983, and a master of arts in 1985, both from Southeast Missouri State University. It was the culmination of her lifelong dream.

She lived in her own home in Cape Girardeau from 1983 to 1995. After that she lived with her youngest daughter in Logan, her youngest son in Salt Lake City, and her oldest daughter in Sacramento, Calif.

Roberts moved to Salt Lake City in 2003 and returned to Preston for good in 2008.

Her health began failing in her early 30s and continued to fail the next 47 years. Though she had a shoe box full of medications, she remained active, bright and funny to the end.

She rejected the God described by her parents and refused to consider alternative understandings. Though she did not believe in God, God believes in her and welcomed her Sunday with a big grin.

Roberts was a complicated parent, who loved her children unconditionally. In the end, she was a great mom, who forgave more than she was forgiven.

She was predeceased by her mother in 1978 and her father in 1994.

Survivors include her children, Kent Roberts (Susan) of Dallas, Steven Roberts (Mari) of Berlin, Conn., Scott Roberts (Echo) of San Antonio, Paul Roberts (Carrie) of Oxford, Miss., Perri Ann Allen (Paul) of Sacramento, Benjamin Roberts of Sandy, Utah, Catherine Rutter (Cris) of Sacramento; 23 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by brothers and sisters, Mark Hart (Joan) of Sandy, David Hart (Jan) of Logan, Carolyn Bennett (Wallace) of Rexburg, Idaho, Beverly Hart of Preston, Bonnie Murray (John) of Denver, Shelley Beal (Seth) of Moore, Idaho, Ruth Huff (Ray) of Brigham City, Reed Hart (Susan) of Preston; and innumerable nephews and nieces.

A memorial service will be in Preston in late July 2013.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at