The Life of Lloyd Neal Roberts
Lloyd Neil Roberts, 81, of Olathe, Kansas passed away surrounded by his loving family on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 following a cancer diagnosis in November 2018. He will forever be remembered as a devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to everyone he met.
“Neil” as he was known by his family and friends was born on August 10, 1938 in Olathe, Kansas to Lloyd Frederick and Jane Eloise (McKaig) Roberts. He attended and graduated from Olathe High School in 1956. Earning varsity letters in basketball and track. He married his high school sweetheart, Helen Jane Van Winkle in 1956. Together they raised their son Farell in Olathe, then welcomed their son Kelly in 1975, and moved to the home they built on 80 acres in rural Paola.
Neil enjoyed welcoming his grandchildren and great-grandchildren at “the farm.” Neil was an avid reader and spent years at the farm cutting wood, watching Winston Cup races, (never agreeing with the sponsorship change), and enjoying the outdoors with family. Neil and Helen spent 44 years living in rural Paola before selling the farm in April 2019 to move back to Olathe.
Neil began working at the GM AC-Delco factor not long after it opened. He retired after working over 40 years. He shared the 53-mile roundtrip commute to “the plant” with co-workers and stayed active in UAW Local #31. Delco-Remy, a division of General Motors (AC Delco Systems, later Delphi). The Olathe plant was in production for 49 years. Olathe was the first plant to produce the maintenance free battery in 1970-1971 employing what was described as wire wound grid technology. The product was sold exclusively to JC Penney. Located just southwest of Kansas, City, KS, this plant could supply OEM batteries to the GM Fairfax, KS plant and later on the assembly plants in Oklahoma City, OK and Wentzville, MO. The last production battery was a heavy duty unit for Caterpillar in February 2005. The plant was razed in 2009. Over the years, Neil also worked for Ken McMannis Construction and was a credit officer at the Delco Credit Union, formerly on Dennis Avenue.
Neil is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his beautiful wife of 63 years Helen Roberts of the home, two sons, Farell Jay Roberts and his wife Tammy of Paola, Kansas and Kelly Lloyd Roberts and his wife Hillary of Spring Hill, Kansas. Left behind to cherish his memory are his five grandchildren, Jennifer Roberts, Nicole (Ben) Dujakovich, Caitlin (Michael) Nichols, Madison Roberts and Walker Roberts. Neil was also “Gramps” to 7 great-grandchildren, Wesley Mentzel, Collin Nichols, Devon Dujakovich, Izac Dujakovich, Mariah Dujakovich, Rosalynn Nichols and Kinleigh Nichols. He is also survived by his two younger brothers, Doug Roberts and his wife Judy of Olathe, Kansas and Barry Roberts and his wife Jeanette of Lakewood Colorado, along with eight nieces and nephews. Also surviving are maternal aunts, Eileen (McKaig) Kurtz and Laura McKaig, of Gardner, Kansas as well as paternal aunt Shirley (Roberts) Hampton and uncle Dale Roberts, of Olathe, Kansas along with many McKaig and Roberts cousins.
Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the McGilley & Frye Funeral Home 105 East Loula Street Olathe, Kansas. Interment in Olathe Memorial Cemetery 738 North Chestnut Street Olathe, Kansas. Visitation will be 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Tuesday evening, September 3rd at the funeral home.