Thomas  Roberts

Obituary of Thomas W. Roberts

Thomas W. Roberts, 74, of Vermilion, died Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, IL concluding a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born April 1, 1946 in Lorain and had been a life-long Vermilion resident. Tom was very involved with sports from a young age, excelling in football,basketball and track. He was part of the undefeated 1963 Vermilion Sailors varsity football team that claimed the Lakeland Conference Championship. He was also part of the 1964 Vermilion Sailors varsity basketball team that led the Lakeland Conference with a16-4 record. Playing forward, he helped the team overcome a 10-point deficit in the last few minutes of the game to defeat Margaretta High School in the playoffs. After high school, Tom attended Wittenberg University before pursuing a career in broadcast advertising starting with the rock station WZLE in Cleveland. He then transitioned to IT where he had a 35-year career that ended with the formation of his own firm, Citadel Communications and Data. Tom was extremely active in the Vermilion community, including the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis Club, and Vermilion School Board over the years. As part of the Kiwanis Club in the 70s and early 80s, he was instrumental in bringing the John Strong Circus to town. He also created the Winter Festival, which included games and races on the frozen Vermilion river, as well as appearances by the Ice Follies. In the late 80s, he led a successful school levy campaign to support continued bus service for the local public schools. Following a diagnosis of Myasthenia Gravis in 2009, Tom became very active with the local MG chapter, which recently noted that his “reflective thinking and philosophical musings brought many thoughtful and interesting conversations to our MG meetings”. Last September, Tom was recognized as an Ohio Walk Hero at the 2019 MG Walk where he gave a riveting speech about his journey to diagnosis and remission of this relatively unknown disease. Many people will remember Tom as a devoted and doting father to his daughter, Erin. He was her biggest fan and would always be spotted on the sidelines of her gymnastics meets, in the stand for her cheerleading appearances, or in the audience for plays, concerts, and dance recitals. Tom played a pivotal role in producing the Ohio State Rhythmic Gymnastics Championship meets of the mid-to-late 90s. Known to his friends as a walking encyclopedia of rock-n-roll history, Tom enjoyed listening to classic rock and had a strong affinity for blues music. He never missed an opportunity to take in a live show and found pleasure in discovering new artists. Tom felt good when he could use his network and music knowledge to bring more awareness to up-and-coming bands. In addition to being a music aficionado, Tom was also passionate about theatre, art, and philosophy. In his free time, he studied history and spent many hours reading biographies and books about world politics. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Cheryl Lynne Roberts of Vermilion; daughter, Erin Elizabeth Roberts of Chicago, IL; and his sister, Leslie (Bud) Ennis of Vermilion.He was preceded in death by his parents, George and Grace (nee Feiszli) Roberts and his sister, Lynn Hurd. An outdoor funeral service is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Maple Grove Cemetery in Vermilion. Guests are asked to wear masks and will be guided to socially distance. A larger memorial service is being planned for summer 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America at Acivically engaged man his entire life, Tom spent his final days talking politics and fighting hard against his cancer to cast one final election ballot. In that spirit, the Roberts family would like to encourage everyone to vote on November 3 and make your voice heard. And in the words of Warren Zevon, “enjoy every sandwich.” Online condolences may be made at

Graveside Service

11:00 am - 11:30 am
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Maple Grove Cemetery
8114 Cemetery Road
Vermilion, Ohio, United States
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