Born in Fairland and a long-time resident of Miami, Roberts built a life centered around selfless service, integrity, and faith.

"The greatest among you shall be your servant." – Matthew 23:11

MIAMI – Leader, historian, volunteer, community renaissance man and beloved friend. There are just not enough words and ways to sum up the life and legacy of Ottawa County's own Larry Dale Roberts.

Few have not been impacted by his tireless works or his loss at the age of 70 Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Born in Fairland and a long-time resident of Miami, Roberts built a life centered around selfless service, integrity, and faith.

A Cub Scout in his youth he would go on to serve in the United States Army and teach in Ralston, but this was just the beginning.

Already a member of several community organizations, Roberts began a career as an official Oklahoma civil servant as the Ottawa County treasurer for nearly a decade before committing 21 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His prowess and passion for the people he represented admired and respected long after leaving the Capitol.

As a member of the Ottawa County Historical Society and its president for the last eight years, dedicated member of the Friends of the Coleman Theatre, and tireless facilitator with the Dobson Museum and Memorial Home, Roberts found contentment in seeing the communities he served thrive through the preservation of their historical foundations.

Young and old were touched by Roberts and his works through numerous organization, clubs, and charities such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, Red Cross, Kiwanis Club and much more.

There was no Oklahoman he did not view as a valuable neighbor and no task he found too small for his attention.

Remembering Larry

"Ottawa County has lost a good man and a good leader," said current Oklahoma District 7 Representative and City of Miami Attorney Ben Loring. "Larry was a courageous voice for what he thought was right and for the people, he was so proud to represent. His influence is still felt here at the Capitol."

"Of course I go way back with the Roberts' family and was a friend of his father's and also got to know Larry in politics. We were political opponents at one time, and I lost," said Miami native and former Oklahoma District 7 Representative Larry Glenn with a chuckle. "Then when I did win the seat with Larry stepping down, he was always so gracious and available to me. When I got to the Capitol many of the legislators had only good things to say about him. Larry was a great man with a great knowledge of the legislature and of life. He will be missed."

"Larry Roberts was a good man and a dear friend," said Friends of the Coleman President Janie McQuigg. "He demonstrated his love for the community through many volunteer organization such as the Dobson Museum and the Coleman Theatre. He cared deeply as was demonstrated through his many years as our State Representative. I will miss him."

"It was a blessing to have a friend such as Larry Roberts. He was a truly civic-minded person and spent many hours volunteering across Miami and Ottawa County. We had many great years working with Larry in and around the Dobson Museum," said Jordan Boyd, Director of the Dobson Memorial Center Museum and Home. "It is hard to ever replace someone such as Larry, but we have many people who have formerly and currently volunteered and worked at the museum to make it what it is today. It is the people like Larry who leave the world better than they found it. Miami never had a better friend than Larry Roberts. He will be in our hearts and thoughts forever and will truly be missed in all that he did for this area."

"While most people will remember Larry for his many years of service to the community and the accomplishments he achieved as one of our longest serving state representatives, I'll remember him simply for being the best friend I ever had," said Roberts' long-time friend and colleague Mark Rogers. "We both enjoyed our many visits to Branson and weekend road trips in that old white Mercury Marquis of his, always finding the time to check out every Lowe's, Home Depot or hardware store along the route."

"What an honor it was to be acquainted with someone admired by so many, and I think you would find it impossible to find a person who cared more about his hometown," Rogers continued. "If there was a worthwhile organization, Larry could be depended upon to serve. And with his wealth of knowledge and remarkable memory, a great void will be left.

"He was like the brother I never had, and I will always consider our friendship one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given me."

Celebration of Life

Roberts is survived by a sister Linda Ashby of Tulsa, his nieces Brenda Haumpy and her husband Stephen of Sapulpa, Suzan Crowell and her husband Neal of Wichita and Lisa Zumwalt of Broken Arrow.

He is also survived by his great nieces and nephews Katherine Ashby and her children Landon, Aiden, Kaylynn, Hunter, Betsy Holcomb, Owen Rankin and his wife Christina and their children Noah and Blair, Megan Zumwalt and Matthew Crowell along with his many friends.

There will be a Celebration of Larry’s Life at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at First Christian Church, 2424 N Main Street in Miami, with Pastors Brian Brubaker and Jerad Joslin officiating. Interment will be at Fairland Cemetery under the care of Brown-Winters Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Miami.

Memorial Contributions may be made to the First Christian Church’s Building Fund.

Friends and family may share memories on Roberts' Tribute Page at

Access Roberts' obituary here: Larry Dale Roberts 

Dorothy Ballard is the managing news editor for the Miami News-Record. Email her at and follow her on Twitter @dm_ballard.