Perry T. Roberts, M. D., 1933 - 2023
Perry Taggart Roberts, M. D., of Oxford, Mississippi, and Lewiston, Utah, died June 2, 2023, a few days short of his 90th birthday, in Loxahatchee, Florida. He lived well. He left behind a large and growing family, whom he loved, and more than 35,000 patients whose lives he improved through skilled and careful surgical interventions.
Perry Roberts was born June 13, 1933, in Lewiston, Utah, to David Frederick Roberts and Moletta (Taggart) Roberts, in a single room house in a chicken yard. He was a devoted son, who called his parents every week. Roberts spent his youth in Lewiston, graduating from North Cache High School in 1951 and from Utah State College (now University) in 1954. Education was his first passion. A key part of his education was the Boy Scout program offered through his local unit of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS). He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and devoted great energy to making scouting part of his sons’ lives. All of his sons participated in the Boy Scouts of America and five became Eagle Scouts.
Strongly encouraged by his mother, Roberts was admitted to medical school at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois. He graduated as a medical doctor in May 1958. In the practice of medicine, especially in the practice of head and neck surgery, Roberts found his second passion. In 1957, he joined the United States Air Force and there enjoyed an environment where he could use his surgical skills with a huge clientele without the need to attend to the business aspects of medicine.
Following medical school, the Air Force assigned Roberts to San Francisco, California, for his residency where he specialized in otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat medicine). He was subsequently assigned to San Antonio, Texas, to Wichita Falls, Texas, where he enthusiastically studied aerospace medicine during the tensest days of the Cold War, back to San Antonio, Texas, to East Anglia, England, and finally to a third tour of duty in San Antonio.
In the early 1960s, Roberts became very intentional about practicing the LDS faith into which he was born. In England, he was called to be the president of the Cambridge Branch. Back in the United States, Roberts frequently served in various capacities in the LDS church. He made sure his children were at church every Sunday and Wednesday. Two of his sons served as LDS bishops. Five of his children served LDS missions in such places as Argentina, Mexico, Panama and Arizona.
In 1971, Dr. Roberts left active duty in the USAF as a Lt. Colonel and remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1980, retiring as a Colonel.
In 1973, he found an opportunity in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where there was no ENT doctor to serve a population of 800,000. He moved his still growing family there in February 1974. He practiced in Cape Girardeau more than 20 years. An avid flyer from his teenage years, in Cape Girardeau, he was able to fulfill his lifelong dream of owning his own airplane.
He married Frances Phillips, of San Jose, California, in May 1984. They were inseparable over the next 39 years. She was with him at his death.
He was healthy and strong. In high school, he ran the 400 meter relay. He wrestled with his children and easily bested them, even when it was five children against him at once. In Cape Girardeau, he ran a leg in a nationwide relay and performed much better than those taking the legs before and after him. He and Frances were avid snow skiers and spent many winters in Vail, Colorado.
Roberts retired as a doctor in 1995. His best friend was his assistant, the late Kenneth Peyton, whom he first worked with in England and who joined Dr. Roberts in Cape Girardeau to bring order and good humor to his practice.
In retirement, Roberts moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he started law school at Ole Miss. After he left law school, he became actively involved in the Interfaith Compassionate Ministry in Oxford. He served there weekly. As Elder and Sister Roberts, he and Frances served missions in the Quito Ecuador mission and at the LDS temple in Santiago, Chile.
He and Frances constantly traveled to visit his nine children and other relatives. He handmade cedar chests for his 27 grandchildren. He assisted in the blessings and baptisms of many of his 42 great grandchildren. Frances said, “He loved his family a lot.”
Perry Roberts was predeceased by his father, mother and sisters, Florence and Gloria. He is survived by his wife, Frances, his sister Sharon Horton of San Jose, California, and by his children, Kent Roberts, of Dallas, Texas, Steven Roberts, of Vancouver, Washington, Scott Roberts, of San Antonio, Texas, Paul Roberts, of Oxford, Mississippi, Perri Ann Allen, of Penryn, California, Benjamin Roberts, of Kerns, Utah, Catherine Rutter, of Sacramento, California, Heather Linares, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Perry T. Roberts, of Oxford, Mississippi.
A memorial service will be held at the LDS ward house in Oxford, Mississippi, 3501 South Lamar, on Saturday, June 17, 2023, at 7 pm. There will also be visitation at the Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 East Center Street, Logan, Utah on July 7th from 6-8 pm with burial at the Lewiston, Utah cemetery on July 8 at 11 am.
Gifts in Dr. Roberts’s memory should be made to Interfaith Compassionate Ministry of Oxford,