TBDBITL Alumni Club

The Best Damn Band In The Land - The Ohio State University Marching Band Alumni

William Henry Roberts

August 3, 1920 - June 12, 2014

William Henry Roberts, MD, 93, of North Baltimore, Ohio, passed away at home on June 12, 2014, of kidney failure.

Dr. Roberts was born August 3, 1920, in North Baltimore, to Charles S. & Nellie Y. Roberts. He married Ruth Jane Biehler on December 19, 1943, and she died May 1, 1983. He married Ingrid A. Cornelius on July 6, 1985, and she died October 15, 2011.

He is survived by a son and daughter in law, William H. and Margaret J. Roberts of New Albany, Ohio; and granddaughters Jane E. Leggiero of Austin, Texas, and Julia A. K. Roberts of New Albany. His daughter Rachael E. Leggiero preceded him in death on December 21, 2006.

Dr. Roberts was a 1938 graduate of North Baltimore High School and a 1942 graduate of The Ohio State University School of Pharmacy. During his college years, he marched with TBDBITL and was elected to Kappa Kappa Psi band honorary. He served in USS Edgar G. Chase (DE 16) and USS Trumpeter (DE 180) as a line officer in the US Naval Reserve during World War II, returning to Ohio State after the war to earn a Master's degree in Pharmacy. He then attended medical school at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, graduating in 1951. Two years of internship at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut were followed by his return to North Baltimore to enter private practice in 1953. A Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice, he served as Chief of Staff at both Blanchard Valley and Wood County Hospitals and as Medical Director of Bridge Hospice. He retired from active medical practice in 1990. Dr. Roberts was a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church, of American Legion Post #539, and of North Baltimore Lodge #561 F&AM, each for more than fifty years. Active in music from his youth, he sang in the St. Luke's choir and played cornet for many Community Theater musicals. He enjoyed traveling and was a voracious reader. Dr. Roberts served as member and president of the North Baltimore Board of Public Affairs and the North Baltimore Public Library Board and as medical advisor to the North Baltimore and McComb Emergency Medical Services and the North Baltimore Volunteer Fire Department. The village celebrated Dr. Roberts Day in his honor on June 30, 1984.

Visitation will be from 2:00 - 4:00 and 6:00 - 8:00 pm on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at Smith-Crates Funeral Home, North Baltimore, Ohio, the Masonic Service will commence at 7:30 pm. Funeral services will be at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, North Baltimore, Ohio. Pastor Ralph Mineo will officiate and burial will follow in New Maplewood Cemetery, North Baltimore where the North Baltimore American Legion Post 539 will present full military rites. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Luke's Lutheran Church.

William was a member of the marching band from 1948 through 1941. He played alto horn.

News Article, Toledo Blade

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio - Dr. William Henry Roberts, a small-town doctor who delivered some 2,000 babies and made countless house calls during a solo practice of nearly four decades, died Thursday at his home in North Baltimore.

Dr. Roberts, 93, who had been in declining health since February, died of kidney failure, his son, William H. Roberts said.

Dr. Roberts was a Navy veteran who earned a pharmacy degree from Ohio State University in 1942.

After the war, he returned to OSU, picked up his master's in pharmacy, and then studied medicine at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, graduating in 1951.

While practicing in North Baltimore, he was chief of staff for Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay, now Blanchard Valley Regional Health Center, and for Wood County Hospital, where he also served as medical director of Bridge Hospice.

His other duties included medical adviser to the North Baltimore Volunteer Fire Department.

He was born in North Baltimore on Aug. 3, 1920, to Charles and Nellie Roberts. His father was the town's pharmacist, whom he helped while in high school.

His son, William, said Dr. Roberts decided against pursing a pharmacy career because doctors were closer to people.

"At the time a pharmacist was more of a chemist. It was the doctor that interacted with people," Mr. Roberts said.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1942 and served as an officer aboard the destroyers USS Edgar G. Chase and the USS Trumpeter, remaining in the active reserves until 1947.

He interned as a doctor in Connecticut for two years before returning to North Baltimore in 1953. He bought a practice from a retiring doctor, becoming one of three physicians in the Wood County community.

As a solo practitioner, he delivered babies, stitched cuts, took and read X-rays, and mended broken bones.

Improved transportation and rural ambulance services phased out the doctor's office as a town's crisis center, he said in a 1984 interview.

House calls and rounds to hospitals in Findlay and Bowling Green were part of the routine.

As a young doctor, he enjoyed the 60-mile daily trips to the hospitals driving his MG sports car, his son said.

"He liked the MG. It was a fun car," his son said.

The fun ended when the unreliable British sports car died while on a 2 a.m. hospital run, stranding him "on his way to Blanchard Valley to deliver a baby," his son said. "It threw a rod, and that's all she wrote."

When he was in his 70s, his wife bought him another MG to rekindle some of those memories, with a modern-era caveat.

"One of the most important accessories for an MG is a cell phone," his son reminded him.

In 1984, when he was 63, North Baltimore residents honored him with Dr. Roberts Day, a communitywide celebration that included a parade.

One of those on hand was 6-year-old Angie Lindquist.

Young Angie was a "blizzard baby," who was delivered on Jan. 27, 1978. Dr. Roberts rode a snowmobile across town during the blizzard to the home of Karen and Kevin Lindquist, delivering Angie in the family's living room. It was the last baby of some 2,000 he delivered, he said.

He told The Blade he never considered practicing anywhere else when he left medical school.

"I always wanted to be a doctor. Didn't ever want to be anything else."

He liked small-town life and people who lived there. When a multinational oil company offered a lucrative position in the 1960s in Saudi Arabia, he turned it down.

"They were talking a lot of money," his son recalled.

"That was not why he was practicing medicine." Mr. Roberts said. "He wanted to practice medicine to take care of people people who couldn't pay or people who could pay, but wouldn't."

He remained active in medicine until 1990.

He was a member of St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, American Legion Post 539, and the North Baltimore Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. He was active in Masons for more than 70 years.

He sang in the church choir.

He played cornet in the community theater musicals. As a student at OSU, he played alto horn in the Buckeyes' marching band.

He married Ruth Jane Biehler on Dec. 19, 1943; she died in 1983. He married Ingrid Cornelius on July 6, 1985; she died on Oct. 15, 2011.

He is survived by his son, William H. Roberts, and two granddaughters. A daughter, Rachael, died in 2006.