Throughout this whole process, we have heard from city officials, city residents, Roberts Stadium neighbors, and just about anybody who has felt compelled to speak on behalf of Roberts Stadium.
One group that we have not heard from yet is by far and away the most important group to Roberts Stadium- Hank Roberts' family. Since I have been working on this mission of saving Roberts Stadium, the Roberts family has been supportive of me in everything that I have done. They were first in line when I sold "Save Roberts Stadium" shirts at cost (the ones in the picture), they have always supported my blog postings with their thoughts and praise, and they have appeared at rallies that a good friend of mine Brenda Bergwitz hosted.
It is important to understand that while Roberts Stadium may see to be just bricks and beams to some in this town, it is the legacy of Evansville and Hank Roberts to the rest of us. This building was dedicated to Evansville mayor Hank Roberts well over 50 years ago and it has stood for Hank since that time. We aren't just preserving a building or an arena, rather we are preserving a monument to all of the great things that Hank Roberts did for us most notably his "Plan of Progress" and his decision to seek a reuse for the Soldiers & Sailors Coliseum.
With all of that being said, I want you to hear first hand from the Roberts family on what this building means to them. I hope you will keep them and their words in your heart, in your mind, and in your actions on the day(s) that you go to present your ideas.
Kristine Beard- Granddaughter of Mayor Hank Roberts
Henry Owen Roberts was my grandfather. Many knew him as Hank Roberts. He was mayor of the City of Evansville before I was born. To me he was the most amazing man. I did not realize until I was older that he had contributed so much to this city.
H.O. Roberts was married to the former Alice Johnson. They had twin girls, Janet and Jean. Janet was my mom. She married John William (Bill) Kleindorfer. They were my parents. I have two sisters, Candi and Kathy Kleindorfer. My parents have both passed away. My aunt Janet married Richard Martin and they had two children, Becky Martin Murray and Ron Martin. Dick Martin has passed away and Ron unfortunately died of cancer a couple of years ago. There are five great grandchildren: Rick and Matt Murray, McKenzie Martin, William Roberts Forston and Lisa Jean Beard. To grandpa…his family was the most important part of his life.
The second most important part of his life was politics. He treasured his four years as mayor. Roberts Stadium was his legacy and his vision. He always talked with pride about the stadium. I was fortunate to always have Roberts Stadium. I can remember going to so many special events at the stadium. My grandfather always promoted this city and the stadium. He attended many events at the stadium.
Before the renovation, there were two gold seats in the front row that were his seats. I have many fond memories of all the years we went to the Shrine Circus. I made sure I went to the last Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium. For me, that was a very sad day.
My grandfather loved the city so much that he requested that he be buried in a city cemetery. He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. His tombstone lists that he was mayor of the city of Evansville. I will always treasure the time I had with this amazing man. We called him Grandpa or simply ‘PA’. He was the type to always make time for the grandchildren. He took us to picnics, the zoo, the rodeo, for drives to the river, etc. I loved him very much and miss him.
I will also always remember when he had his stroke. This left him partially paralyzed and no longer able to get out and be with people. He loved being around people. But the most amazing thing is that I never once heard him complain, even after the stroke left him home bound. He never stopped following politics and keeping up with the city of Evansville.
I have no doubt my grandfather would have been touched by the efforts of Jordan Baer and the Save Roberts Stadium group. I would love to see his legacy saved. I personally did not agree with the city building the new arena. Would my grandfather have approved? I am not sure. But I know he would want what was best for the city.
Saving Roberts Stadium is not in opposition to the new arena. The arena is here and we do need to support the facility and hope for the best. But that does not mean there is no longer a need for Roberts Stadium. I do hope the committee that Mayor Winnecke has put together will come up with a viable way to save the stadium.
Lisa Jean Beard- Great-Granddaughter of Mayor Hank Roberts
Roberts Stadium has always been a very special place to me. It was built by my great-grandfather. Sadly, I was never able to personally know him because he died before I was born. However, I have heard so many wonderful things about him from my mother. I have heard so many wonderful stories of how amazing of a grandfather that he was to her, and of how amazing of a person he was in general.
From: Lisa Beard
Thank you Kristine and Lisa for all of your support and your great letters for Roberts Stadium. On January 26th, January 28th, and February 1st, remember Hank Roberts and his family as you go to present your idea to SAVE ROBERTS STADIUM!