Couple finds comfy retirement

Published 11:38 am Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gordon Roberts was a fighter pilot –– Wildcat, Hellcat and Bearcat.

He never saw World War II action but always seemed to be right behind it.

He was on the USS Siboney and two days out when the atom bomb was dropped.

He flew over Hiroshima twice and remarked that never in his life had he seen anything like that.

For many years the squadron from the USS Siboney had annual reunions. Only six survivors remain.

In his days of landing on carriers, he had only one mishap so when the engine quit he just took the plane into the water. Luckily he had “cranked” his wheels up enough that he didn’t flip over.

In December 1949 when Roberts, of Harrisburg, Ill. was in his last semester at the University of Alabama, he was introduced to Emily Cummins, a freshman.

Their courtship moved fast and on Aug. 14, 1950 (eight months later) they were married.

Roberts graduated majoring in mining and engineering.

He was offered a job in Mexico, but luckily was hired at U.S. Steel. Roberts was there for 19 years, felt it might be time to make a move so he took a job with Exxon in Carlinville, Ill., for five years.

Emily was not a happy camper so back Roberts came to Birmingham with U.S. Pipe/Jim Walter Resources as vice president of mining operations.

In less than three years it was back with Exxon and they lived in Fairview Heights, Ill., (near St. Louis).

Emily says it’s her favorite place to have lived. They spent 10 years there. Roberts retired in 1987 and they moved to Largo, Fla.

August 2007 brought Emily, Gordon and their daughter Leigh Ann to the Alabaster area. Their son Jerry lives in Hoover.

The Roberts have five grandchildren.

Emily enjoys gardening and bridge. Robert loves his computer.

They are bright, cheerful and interesting.

Emily has been Presbyterian all her life and upon moving to Alabaster, they began attending First Presbyterian where they are much loved and appreciated.

They are active in many senior activities. Both are avid University of Alabama fans.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by e–mail at