Thomas Owen Roberts

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 22, 2008

Thomas Owen Roberts, 88, prominent attorney and civic leader inBrookhaven since 1947, died on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, at HospiceMinistries in Ridgeland, following an extended illness.

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23,at the Roberts burial plot in Cleveland, Miss., in the oldCleveland Cemetery. A memorial service will be held at FaithPresbyterian Church in Brookhaven at a later date.

Mr. Roberts was born in St. Louis, Mo., on June 19, 1919, toJohn Charles Roberts and Minnie Sligh Roberts, of Cleveland. Heattended Delta State University, and the University of Mississippi,where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta social fraternity, andthe University of Mississippi School of Law.

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Mr. Roberts moved to Brookhaven to practice law in the office ofTom P. Brady, and became sole practitioner in 1949, continuing inthe same office in the Brady building for the rest of his legalcareer of over 40 years.

In World War II, Mr. Roberts joined the United States Army AirCorps and flew as a navigator of a B-17 bomber for 32 missions overoccupied Europe, Germany and France, including two missions onD-Day, June 4, 1944, over Normandy, France.

After World War II, Mr. Roberts remained in the Army Reservesand was again called to active duty for 21 months for the KoreanWar in 1956, in which he flew 50 combat missions. In honor of hiscombat services, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crossesand seven Air Medals. He was a war hero. Later in the Air ForceReserve he was transferred to the Judge Advocate Corps where he wasadmitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. After theKorean Conflict he returned to Brookhaven to resume his lawpractice.

He became involved in genealogy, serving leadership positions inthe First Families of Mississippi, the Mississippi GenealogicalSociety, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Sons ofConfederate Veterans, and the Society of the War of 1812.

Roberts was always active in civic projects. He was a Kiwanianfor over 50 years, served as treasurer for the First UnitedMethodist Church for over 25 years and taught Sunday school. Formany years, he was the attorney for the Brookhaven Bank and TrustCo., which later became Trustmark Bank. In 1976 he was elected afellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation, a signal honor.

Preceding him in death were his parents; his sister, MargaretRoberts Lehmen; his brother, John Charles Roberts Jr.; and hisformer wife, Katherine Leary Roberts.

Survivors are his wife, Mary Helon Child Roberts; his son,Thomas Owen Roberts Jr. and wife, Delores Whitehead Roberts, ofDallas, Texas; his stepson Thad Amacker and wife Alice HolderAmacker; his stepdaughter, Carol Coursey, all of Jackson; hisstepgrandchildren, Petrina Amacker, of Chicago, Ill., ArianaAmacker, of New York, N.Y., and Andrew Amacker, of Jackson; hisniece, Ann Acree, of California; his nephew, Gordon Roberts, ofSalt Lake City, Utah, John Roberts, of San Francisco, Calif.; andhis niece, Sheila Roberts Miller, of Phoenix, Ariz.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials might be madeto the Palmer Home for Children, Box 796, Columbus; MS; French CampAcademy, French Camp, MS; or the Lincoln County Public LibraryGenealogical section, North Jackson Street, Brookhaven.