Chapel Hill: Obituaries

Marilyn Jean Roberts

Marilyn Roberts, 84, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina peacefully passed away February 21, 2017 with her family at her side. She was born to the late Lucille and Richard Claassen in Wellsburg, Iowa on October 11, 1932. She attended Wellsburg High School and was a proud member of the 1949 State Championship Wellsburg basketball team in an era when the girls’ game was “6 on 6” and guards could not go past the center court line. Marilyn graduated as valedictorian of her high school class in 1950. Marilyn attended Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) and had particular interests in the fields of geology, art history and biology. She graduated magna cum laude in 1954 and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. In 1957 “Mari” worked at the Carlsberg Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark where in the lab of Dr. Tage Astrup, she played an important role in precipitating a substance known as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots that ultimately was used to treat patients that suffer ischemic stroke. While in Denmark, Marilyn met her future husband, Dr. Harold R. Roberts of Chapel Hill, NC, whom she married in 1958. After spending a year in Nashville Tennessee, Mari moved to Chapel Hill where she lived from 1959 until her passing. Mari maintained an active interest in Danish culture throughout her life and also had a lifetime interest in conservation. Marilyn highly valued education and had many other interests that she took great joy in including gardening, bird watching, and swimming. During her life Marilyn was blessed with loving and caring friends. The Roberts family would like to thank MaryAnne Baldwin, Tracy Jacobs, Ashley Smith, Nicole Browning and Veda Pearsol-Barbee with the loving care they provided to “Mor” (Danish for “mother”) for the last several years. The family would also like to thank Fr. Robert Hart of St. Benedict’s Church for his in-home ministry to Mari.Mari was preceded in death by a brother, Richard J. Claassen, as well as her parents. Marilyn is survived by her husband Dr. Harold R. Roberts of Chapel Hill, NC; two children, Eric M. Roberts and his wife Alison of West Kingston, RI and John C. Roberts and his wife Alexandra of Hillsborough, NC, and two sisters Barbara Claassen of Chapel Hill, NC and Joan Wallick of Big Horn, WY. She is also survived by two beautiful grandchildren Carl William Roberts and Alexandra Roberts. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 25th at 1pm at Saint Benedict's Anglican Church, 870 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to St. Benedict's Anglican Church.Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is honored to serve the Roberts family. Online condolences may be offered at <a href="http://www.walkersfuneralhome.com" target="_new">www.walkersfuneralhome.com</a>.

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