William T.M. Roberts

william roberts

January 22, 1922 ~ December 23, 2003

Resided in: Los Angeles, CA

William (Bill/Swampy) Theodore Milton Roberts, a resident of Westchester for over 50 years, died December 23, 2003 at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital after a long illness. Bill was born in D'Lo, Miss on January 22, 1922, where he graduated valedictorian of his high school class. He graduated from Mississippi State University, with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. During WWII, he worked in the Curtiss Wright aircraft factory in Ohio. ''Swampy'' worked for Rockwell International (North American Aviation) for over 40 years. During his career, he worked on the Space Program in various technical capacities on a variety of platforms including: the X-15, the Apollo Program, the Saturn II rocket, the Space Shuttle and the Space Station. He was interviewed on the day of the Challenger disaster, by CNN and other major news agencies and gave them his analysis of the possible causes for failure, the ultimate cause of the crash included. He was an avid competitive marksman and won the National Championship in Team Rifles and the National Championship for Individual Pistols at Camp Perry Ohio for several years. He served on the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association and in 1976 was an appointed member to President's Council for Marksmanship. He was a past president and founder of the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He is survived by his wife of over 55 years, Bobbye Roberts, daughters Tracy Katz of Los Angeles, and Margaret Yount of San Diego. He is also survived by son-in-law, Randy Katz and granddaughter Sarah, of Los Angeles, grandson Christopher Yount of New Braunfels, TX , grandson David Yount and his wife, Pam of Cypress and great-grandson Ryan. He was preceded in death by his son William (Billy) TM Roberts II and his daughter, Barbara E. Roberts. A memorial service will be held on January 3, 2004 at 12:00PM at the Westchester United Methodist Church, 8065 Emerson Ave., Westerchester, CA 90045 The family requests that donations be made to the Barbara E. Roberts Memorial Scholarship at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in lieu of flowers.

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Memories Timeline


  1. To the Roberts Family, Read the obituary for Mr. Roberts this morning in the Daily Breeze. In reading the details, it brought back many memories of my teenage years and the time I spent with Bill at your house on Emerson. First of all, please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. I hope everyone is doing well. In reading the details of Bill\’s life, I remember the times Bill, Rob Carey and I pulled targets at the shooting range to earn money. Let me say that was the only time I have ever been shot at. Those were good times and I do miss them. I think about Bill every now and then, especially when my two boys were playing Babe Ruth baseball in Torrance. We played Westchester\’s All Stars every year. Best wishes, Mark Leamy

  2. Swampy accomplished a lot in his lifetime. He helped me with smallbore rifle shooting and I helped him with high power rifle. I have fond memories of our shooting together including Camp Perry in 1965.

  3. I can’t believe that it was almost ten years ago. And, I remember the service was on my Mom’s birthday. I am watching the “Challenger Disaster” on Discover Channel and thought of your dad. I googled him and found this. I am sure you still miss him and the others that have gone before us.
    Love to you all.
    Kenny Curtiss 11/16/2013

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