We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Ray Funeral & Cremation Service
Rev. James Earnest Roberts, Sr. 79, of Asheville, NC transitioned to his Heavenly home on May 31, 2022. He was born February 13, 1943 in Gainesville, Florida to the late Dave and Janie Roberts. James was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend with a compassionate heart. He was fondly known as "Bootsie and "Custer" by family & friends.
James was a graduate of Lincoln High School, Gainesville, FL., Class of 1961. He was a graduate of the former Blanton's Business College and attended Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College. James was called to preach the gospel in 1972 . He studied religion and was a graduate of Shaw University Seminary Extension of Western North Carolina. He was also a graduate of AT&T Technical College, Atlanta, GA.
James was talented and had a varied and successful employment career. He was a cable installer with Western Electric, which later became a part of AT&T and retired after 20 years of service. He also worked for Carolina Power & Light Company, now Duke Energy. James became a Certified Nursing Assistant and worked at St. Joseph's Hospital, Victoria Health Care and Holmes Family Care Home. He was also a Funeral Service Assistant with Jesse Ray Funeral Home.
Rev. Roberts began his ministerial career as a member and pastor of Fairmont Missionary Baptist Church for 46 years. He played guitar for the Gospel Stars which included Bobby Cunningham, Ralph Pilgrim, James Shade, Arthur Grant and Jesse Warren. He was a member and held leadership positions in religious and Christian associations including Past Moderator of Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Association, Past Vice Moderator-at-Large, Second Vice Moderator, Past District Moderator of the District III Churches, Past President of the Church Union, affiliates of the Mud Creek Missionary Baptist Association. He served as a board member of Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry, Western North Carolina Retreat Center, Inc. He was a member and Past President of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Asheville and Surrounding Areas (IMA); a member and past treasurer of the Baptist Ministers’ Union of Asheville and Surrounding Areas; a member of the General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc.; a member of the Progressive National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.; a member of the Steering Committee of the Christians for a United Community (CUC). He was the pastor for Ray Family Reunion for 32 years.
His social and civic affiliations include: Board member of Children First in Buncombe County. Board member of Asheville-Buncombe County Sickle Cell Lay Education Advisory Council. Board member and Vice-President of One Youth At A Time, Inc. Member and Past Master of 20th Century Lodge #682, F. & A.M. Past Chancellor Commander of the Knights of Pythians of Acme Lodge #24. He was a member and Past Worthy Patron of the Daughters of Jerusalem #330, O.E.S.P.H.A. He was a volunteer Chaplain of the Buncombe County Correctional Center (Craggy Prison). He was a registered voter.
Preceded in death by his father Dave Roberts, mother Janie H. Roberts and five brothers.
He leaves to cherish loving memories his faithful and caring wife of 59 years Rosalee Beck Roberts, two sons James E. Roberts, Jr. of Forestville, MD and Rev. David E Roberts, II (Marie) of Hickory, NC and one daughter Jacqueline M. Christian (Dean) of Columbia, SC, two adopted children Jonathan Rice and Dorothea Thomas of Asheville, NC, seven grandchildren David E. Roberts, III and Steven J. Roberts of Charlotte, NC, Elijah D. Christian (Kelsay) of Greenville, SC, Isis N. Roberts Newman (Tatiana) of Bowie, MD, Gabriel E. Christian (Alexus) of Decatur, GA, Kaelee R. Christian of Columbia, SC, and April L. Covington of Hickory, NC, two sisters Edna Roberts Jones (Ace) of Pensacola, FL and Barbara J. Roberts Walker (Jimmy) of Gainesville, FL and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Public viewing will be from 1:00-6:00 pm Monday, June 6, 2022 in the chapel of Ray Funeral & Cremation Service. Funeral service will be 2:00 pm Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at Nazareth First Missionary Baptist Church with visitation 30 minutes prior to the service. Burial will follow at Sunset Cemetery.