Roberta Theresa Alston

January 19, 1923 ~ June 8, 2019 (age 96)

ROBERTA THERESA ALSTON was born and raised in a small town on a big lake1.  Her formative years were idealistic and fun.  She freely explored "God's country" during the summers.  During the winters, she enjoyed ice-skating on the freshly smoothed lake her father scored for ice blocks for the family business.  The Washburn community was very close, and the families loved and depended on each other.


Her mother, father, and two brothers lived in town during the winters, and summered, one mile away, at the cottage built by her father on the Lake Superior shore.  During her high school junior year her father passed away followed by her uncle's tragic death.  Her mother took Aunt Ollie and three small children in, and Roberta cared for them at the cottage in that summer.  During high school, her brother Marshall was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve in WWII while her brother Tom was attending the University of Minnesota.  Roberta impressed neighbor, and Dupont plant superintendent Mr. Knake and he employed her at Dupont just outside of Washburn making TNT for the war efforts.  The winters were hard, and her widowed mother accepted a job at the U.S. Navy Base in Vallejo, CA.  This left Roberta as the last family member to leave Washburn.  Roberta lived with Mrs. Axley her senior year and fixed up the family home for rental.  She obtained a scholarship to attend Superior State. Subsequently, she and her mother decided to sell the family home and keep the cottage.  

She transferred to U.C. Berkeley, CA, for her sophomore year of college to be near her mother in Vallejo.  Due to her chemistry experience at Dupont, U.C. Berkeley recommended Roberta earn her degree in chemistry.  She devoted her time to study and soon made many friends.  She worked at Lake Tahoe's Fallen Leaf Lodge during the summer at their Soda Fountain. On her days off she enjoyed outings and hiking.  She met Henry F. Alston, the love of her life, at U.C. Berkeley, where he had enrolled after serving in the U.S. Army during WWII.  They were married over spring break in 1947.  

After Roberta and Henry's graduation, Henry accepted a position with the F.B.I. in New York City and Roberta worked at Sloan-Kettering Hospital.  They had six marvelous years enjoying New York and gave birth to three children.  Henry's mother became ill, and he transferred to the Orange County F.B.I office as the Special-Agent-In-Charge2 the nearest available location to his mother residing in San Diego, and where he grew up.  They enjoyed their time-off in Mission Bay with his brother and sister's families.


Prior to Henry's passing in 1978, he ensured she could support herself, after being a devoted mother for 20 years.  In 1970, she began courses at Cal State University at Long Beach and obtained a license as a medical technologist.  She gained additional laboratory experience working two years (1973-1974) at Letterman Naval Hospital at the Presidio in San Francisco, adding it to her experience at Scripps Hospital in La Jolla.  In those days it was an easy airplane commute to San Francisco where they maintained an apartment and had many fine times touring San Francisco on days off. Their daughter visited frequently from San Luis Obispo State, and they visited her on their trips driven along the coast.   At 55 years of age Roberta was beginning her 20 year long career at the Long Beach Naval Regional Medical Center.  She enjoyed her life during that time with many bridge engagements, fixing Hank's family beach house up with their daughter, and enjoying the Mission Bay area.  She has always been blessed with the best family, neighbors and friends.    

After Henry passed away, their friend, Leonard's wife also passed. Roberta and Leonard began a courtship and were married in 1985.  They enjoyed their "party" boat cursing the Newport Beach area, the Newport Beach Country Club, fine dining, and entertaining.         

Throughout her life Roberta always loved adventure, travel, hiking, bridge and other card games. She traveled the world and did everything with an element of fun.  She hiked Mt. Whitney and hiked Grand Canyon several times. She had great faith, and knew everything would work out.  Roberta accentuated the positive and had a cheerful, friendly manner.  She was a loyal, loving friend to her family, neighbors and friends, and was a dedicated student and worker.


 She is survived by her three children, Joe (Judy), Tom (Patricia), and Jane.   Her six grandchildren are Tom, David, Katrina, Joseph, Richard, and Ryan.  Her sister-in-law is Lois.  Her nine nieces and nephews: Farnum, Teri (Michael), John (Colleen), Mike, Nick (Connie), Tony (Sharon),  Barb (Marlowe), Lori (Tom), and Jim (Carol).   Her two step-daughters Liz (Samin) and Mary, her step-daughter-in-law Angie, her four step-grandchildren Clayton, Jennifer, Natalie, and Emery.  She was predeceased by her husband, Henry, his parents, Jennie and Edwin, his brothers Fred (Doree), Joe, and sister Frances (Dick); her second husband Leonard, step-son Charlie; her parents, Theresa and Tom, her brothers Marshall (June), Tom (Gladys), and sister Irene; nephews and niece, Tom, Cathy and Bob. Her beloved pets were Prince, Pink Toes, Mittens, Brownie, Annie, and Misty.   


1Washburn, WI is located on Lake Superior and has a population of 2000.

2Leading to their son's career with the F.B.I, and their daughter's career with the U.S. Customs Service/Dept. of Homeland Security.

3Introducing her son to a career with the National Park Service.

Cover Photos: Henry and Roberta exploring the Amazon in Brazil '76.

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