Santa Clara Magazine is published in print for alumni and friends of the University. It is updated weekly on the web.
Herbert "Herb" W. Roberson ’44, 92, passed peacefully March 29, 2014, after a brief stay in Modesto Kaiser Hospital. A decedent of the Choctaw Tribe, he was born in 1922 in McAllister, Okla., to Arthur L. and Maggie (Belcher) Roberson.
Herb came to California with his parents during the dust bowl era and married in 1943, raising his family in Salinas. After serving in the Army during WWII, he began his law enforcement career in Watsonville, where he developed the Department’s Juvenile Delinquency Unit before moving on to the Salinas Police Department in 1951. He rose through the ranks to become the Police Chief from 1967 to 1977.
His affiliations were numerous, both local and state-wide, having served on the Board of Directors for the California Delinquency Control Association, Peace Officers Association, Council for Criminal Justice, Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, the Salinas Chamber, Rotary, Salvation Army, YMCA, Monterey County Chiefs’ Association, Gavilan College Police Academy and Hartnell College Advisory. His police exploits were featured in several magazines and books.
He worked for the MGM Grand Hotel, Reno, as their Chief of Investigations. Later, he worked as General Manager of Ace Parking Management, San Diego, before full retirement from Butler Uniform as General Manager. He earned his solo pilot’s license to travel to the many stores in California and Nevada. He settled in Sacramento in 1987 until three years ago when he relocated to the Samaritan Village in Hughson.
He loved the outdoors and was an avid fisherman and camper. He was fond of Lake Tahoe and the company of his family. At the request of his family he was writing his life story. He was an altruist, a mentor to young people and his colleagues, and a true gentleman.
In his last conversation he said, "I’ve had a good life." When he was told that we all love him he replied, "I love you, too." He was bright and in good humor to the very end.
He is survived by his six children: daughters, Sandy (Paul "Skip") Morris of Pittsburg, Kan., Laura (John Stavely) Roberson-Giusta of Medford, Ore., and Leslie (Russell) Hancock of Prunedale; as well as sons, Tim (Elaine) of Salinas, Michael (Barbara) of Oakdale, and Dan of Jacksonville, Fla. He also is survived by 11 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren and his previous wife, Carolyn White of Escondido.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Lucy T. Roberson, the mother of his children.