Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Melanie Creamer firstname.lastname@example.org
BUXTON – Lawrence Roberts Sr., a retired mechanic from Bill Dodge Auto Group, who had a passion for aviation and building model airplanes, died on Saturday. He was 82.
Lawrence Roberts Sr., then 25 years old, builds a model airplane at his home in Portland in 1955.
Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person's family and friends in lasting ways.
Mr. Roberts' passion for aviation began as teenager growing up in South Portland. He wanted to be a pilot, but his dream never came to fruition.
Instead, Mr. Roberts started building model airplanes. He built hundreds of them throughout his life. In recent years, he would escape to his garage in Buxton, where he built and displayed them. The garage features a large workbench, a wood stove, and a recliner so he could sit by the fire and admire his airplanes hovering overhead.
Recently, his hobby expanded to model boats and oil tankers.
"He was always out there tinkering and building something," said his daughter Sharon Masters of Kingman, Ariz. "That was his solace."
Masters, the oldest of his five children, said her father shared his passion for aviation with them. She remembered as a kid going to what is now the Portland International Jetport to watch planes take off and land.
"He loved planes," his daughter said. "It's the little things that were really important to him. He didn't have to spend money on us. He spent time with us."
Mr. Roberts' true passion was his family. He was married to Marion Roberts for 63 years.
She reminisced on Monday about the day they met at a roller-skating rink in Portland. She said Mr. Roberts chased her around the rink until she gave in and agreed to go on a date with him. When they got married, she was 17 and he was 19.
"That was a long time ago," his wife said. "We were just kids. It was puppy love. ... We had a good life. We had our ups and downs, but we had respect for each other. I love the man more today, than I did back then."
Mr. Roberts worked hard to provide a good life for his family. He was a front-end technician at Bill Dodge in Westbrook. He joined Bill Dodge in 1993. He retired in 2001.
His wife and children talked on Monday about their early years living on Little Sebago Lake in Gray. The family had a home there from 1974 until the late 1980s. His wife said they enjoyed boating and fishing on the lake.
The couple moved to Buxton over 20 years ago. They enjoyed going to local flea markets and spending time with their grandchildren. Every year, Mr. Roberts took his grandsons to the Great State of Maine Air Show.
His daughter Doris Stout of Windham said he was a great father who dedicated his life to family.
"He loved my mom. He called her his angel," Stout said. "He was always telling us how proud he was of us. He was always there for us. ... His whole face would light up when his kids and grandkids would come to visit."
At 73, Mr. Roberts fulfilled a lifelong dream when he got the chance to fly in a World War II aircraft. He flew with a pilot, who controlled the plane.
"He was thrilled," said his son Ronald Roberts of Naples. "He had probably one of the biggest smiles I ever saw on someone."
Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: