John Doane Roberts, 89, of Port Aransas, Texas, passed away from congestive heart failure on Sunday, October 13, 2013. He was born in Long Island, New York on May 29, 1924 to Samuel Eben Doane and Laura Veeser Doane. His father died when Johnny was 2 years old, and he was adopted by his step-father, Ed Roberts, of St. Petersburg, Florida. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Lulu Doane of Rio Vista, TX, his son David Eben Roberts, of Medford, OR, and his wife of 65 years, Carrobelle “Pudge” Goodwin Roberts. He is survived by his daughter Niki Leigh Roberts Haley (Randy) of Port Aransas, TX, as well as four grandsons and five great-grandchildren.
Johnny moved to St Petersburg FL when he was a year old, then to Port Aransas, TX in 1936, at the age of 11. He was among the first five graduates of Port Aransas High School in 1942, and was an Eagle Scout, Boy Scout Troop 29. Following graduation, he studied electronics at NYA in San Antonio, Texas A&I – Kingsville, and Philco Airborne Radio in Philadelphia, PA. He joined the Air Force in 1943, and married “Pudge” Goodwin of Waco, TX in 1944. He and his crew flew B-17s with the 8th Air Force out of Kimbolton England, flying 21 combat missions as radio operator/gunner, until they were shot down over Germany in April of 1945. He survived and returned on the Queen Mary that December, arriving home to his bride and new daughter on Christmas Eve 1945. He continued his education in Chicago, earning an electronics degree and becoming involved in the television industry in Pennsylvania. Son David was born in Chicago as well. Johnny was finally transferred to Dallas, then to Corpus Christi in 1954, and returned to Port Aransas in 1960, where he had success in several enterprises including restaurants, a surf shop and surfboard manufacturer, laundromats, a mobile home park, an equipment and motorbike rental shop, vacation rentals, and assorted real estate dealings, all while working full time in Corpus Christi for Westinghouse. He helped many young entrepreneurs get their start, and was a visionary man with a strong sense of civic duty. He served on the school board, planning and zoning commission, city council and beach committees. He helped found the Chamber of Commerce and was a charter member of the local Rotary Club.
He loved the Gulf of Mexico, and spent most of his life swimming, surfing, fishing, and boating in local waters. He passed his love of the sea to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, making many wonderful memories with them over the years. His grandfather, Florida Roberts, and father Ed Roberts taught him to know and love being on the water. He never met a stranger, and enjoyed friendships from around the world, and from all walks of life. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him.
At his request, no services will be held, but he asks that you raise a glass and cherish the memories. Donations, if desired, may be made to one of his favorite causes, the Port Aransas Education Fund, at P.O. Box 95, Port Aransas, TX 78373. He said “That’s what I want you to do. Robin Hood can’t touch it!” Thank you from the family for the kindnesses shown at Bay Area Heart Hospital, and to the many friends that have enriched his life.
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