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June 21, 1937 – July 20, 2022
Tommy Roberson obit pic

T.J. “Tommy” Roberson was born on June 21, 1937 in Modesto, CA to parents Archie and Retha Roberson. He was raised on the T.B. Roberson Ranch on Burwood Road, went to Burwood School and, after traveling the rodeo circuit and becoming a nationally recognized team roper, came back to help operate the ranch and raise a family with his wife, Betty. His family originally farmed spinach and raised cattle, then they began planting walnut and almond orchards. Tommy’s local heritage ran deep on his mom’s side. Retha Emart Roberson was a third generation Escalonian, and he was proud to have deep roots, with countless aunts, uncles, and cousins in his everyday life. He also loved and supported the employees on the ranch. At the end of each harvest season, Tommy would hold a luncheon honoring their hard work and dedication. Tommy and Betty raised their two children, Tommy DeWayne and Marianne next door to his childhood home. He was active with the Shriners, Escalon FFA and 4H, and Escalon Presbyterian Church, where he was a Trustee Elder as well as a mentor to youth and adults. Tommy was also an avid snow skier and horseman, two hobbies he shared with his children.

After a divorce, Tommy remarried, and he and his wife Sammie continued their lives on Burwood Road. He filled his retirement years entertaining family and friends at his beloved Roberson Ranch home and yard. Church picnics, weddings, Shriner events, and holiday celebrations were he and Sammie’s passion. They also loved gardening, traveling, fishing and especially spending time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “Poppa” was always finding ways to keep the kids enjoying life on Burwood Road. From tractors, to wagons, to tire swings to train sets, he was your guy. He was a nurturer and cared for his mom and stepdad, Les Johnson, until their final days. When Sammie developed Alzheimer’s, he took care of her every need, putting her first. Just weeks after her passing, Tommy fractured his hip. Amazingly, he healed and, with help from Bristol Hospice and wonderful caregivers, he was able to get back to church. On June 4, he fell again and was hospitalized with major injuries and complications. He came home under hospice care and, surrounded with love by his family, peacefully passed away on July 20.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Archie, sister Sissy, daughter Marianne and wife Sammie. He is survived by son, Tom (Bette) Roberson, stepson Don Gentry, stepdaughter Laura (Rodney) Alcantor, grandchildren, Jenny (Chris), Tommy, Nicole, Samantha (Daniel), Spencer (Holly) and Bailee, as well as eight great-grandchildren and one more on the way. Special thanks to caregivers Dianna, Mayra, Lisa, the EPC family, and Bristol Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at Escalon Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, August 31, at 10 a.m., with a luncheon immediately following in Centennial Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Escalon Presbyterian Church, Escalon Historical Society, Escalon FFA, and Bristol Hospice.

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Aug.17, 2022