Willard Price Hall Roberts III

COLUMBIA — Willard Price Hall Roberts III died July 27, 2011, after more than 30 years as a minister in two states. He was 68.

Mr. Roberts was born July 6, 1943, in Columbia to Willard and Bessie Sexton Roberts.

On Aug. 8, 1970, he married Carla Rowe in Neosho. They were preparing to celebrate 41 years of marriage.

Mr. Roberts grew up working, beginning at age 12. One of his first jobs was hoeing fields for a local farmer. Working at a young age was in part to help support his family, which grew from three to 11 when Mr. Roberts' father married Tanzie Campbell, a widow with seven children. They had five more during their marriage.

Mr. Roberts attended Oklahoma Missionary Baptist Institute in the 1970s and pastored at churches in Oklahoma and Missouri after he graduated. He got authorization from a Missionary Baptist Church in Arkansas to start a church in his home. Mr. Roberts continued to preach through Unity Missionary Baptist Church until his death.

He also worked for 15 years as an optician, was co-owner of a printing and office supply store in Neosho, served as a computer technician and, in his 60s, obtained a commercial driver's license to drive trucks with PAM Transportation.

Mr. Roberts was recently honored in a radio program prepared by his son, Jason Roberts, on KOPN's "The Real Deal Country Show," where recordings of several of Mr. Robert's original compositions were played with him singing and providing his own accompaniment on guitar.

Mr. Roberts is survived by his wife, Carla, of Columbia; two daughters, Stacey Roberts of Centralia and Lora Baker of Columbia; a son, Jason Roberts of Columbia; five grandchildren Dayton Roberts of Joplin, Jackson Roberts of Topeka, Kan., Alisha Mills of Centralia, and Stephanie Roberts and Nicole Baker, both of Columbia; and one great-grandchild, Qadan Col Moody.

Patricia Wren Roberts and Jeffery Roberts, who was born to Patricia Wren Roberts and Mr. Roberts in 1966, died earlier.

A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, at Bach-Yager Funeral Chapel, 1610 N. Garth Ave. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. Elder Walter Petree Jr. will officiate. Burial will follow at the Perche Church Cemetery, 20301 N. Perche Church Road in Clark.

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