Roy Roberson, Jr., was born March 9, 1936 in Los Angeles, California to the union of Dorothy Spann and Roy Roberson Sr., both preceded him in death. The oldest of three brothers, Lee Roberson and Edgar Roberson, he was baptized by his grandmother, Sister Leila Roberson in the Church of God in Christ.
Raised in Watts, Roy attended 111th Street Elementary School and Willowbrook Junior High School. The Roberson Family later relocated to Pasadena, where Roy attended Pasadena High School. While attending Pasadena High School, Roy competed and successfully reached the finals in the Golden Gloves competition.
Upon graduation from high school, Roy attended Los Angeles City College, earning an Associates degree in 1955. He would later serve two years in the U.S. Army on active duty at Ft. McArthur and Ft. Ord in California, Ft. Lowton in Washington, and Ft. Richardson in Alaska. After leaving the military he was one of the first African Americans to integrate a program for a major airline based out of LAX airport.
In June 1959, Roy received a Bachelor of Arts from Pepperdine University majoring in Special Science, with a minor in Business Administration. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Roy attended Southwestern University School of Law and successfully passed the California Junior Bar Examination in 1960 with an emphasis in the areas of Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, Domestic Relations, Personal Property and Real Property.
Roy returned to Pepperdine University, pursuing Graduate studies and in 1963 earned a Teaching Credential and Master’s degree in General Secondary Teaching, which included training in Educational Test Measures, Mental Hygiene and the Principals of Guidance. He was employed by the Los Angeles School District where he taught Government at Fremont High School. Eventually he worked at Gompers Junior High School and Charles Drew Junior High School, where he taught various subjects ranging from Mathematics, Business Math and Algebra.
His love of teaching led Roy to serve as a Youth Director in South Central Los Angeles, where he was involved in the organization and supervision of recreational activities. As Director, Roy was responsible for mentoring and counseling young men. He also shared his passion for Jazz with the youth, where he organized and sponsored an after school Jazz club for those students who were interested in the art of Progressive and Modern Jazz.
While teaching at Charles Drew, Roy met Clarissa Beard in 1964. Roy and Clarissa were united in marriage on June 25, 1968 in Las Vegas, Nevada. From this union, Christopher Marcus Roberson was born on September 19, 1972.
In 1969, Roy was employed by the University of California, Los Angeles, where he worked for nearly 25 years until his retirement in 1993. Initially, Roy worked as a Counselor and as an Assistant to the Dean of the College of Letters and Sciences. His responsibilities included participating in informational visits to Junior Colleges and High Schools served by UCLA.
His responsibilities at UCLA grew over the years, and Roy participated in the Chancellor’s Special Services Project and the UCLA College Commitment Program at the Compton Facility, implemented the identification of students in these special programs, served on its screening committee for applicants, participated in UCLA’s Veterans Association’s Symposium, contributed to the book: From a Black Perspective, and participated in Operation Crossroads Africa, serving as a consultant on minority problems with the Education Abroad Program in Nairobi, Kenya.
Roy was equally influential as an academic counselor to students in good academic standing as well as students admitted under certain circumstances, EOP (Educational Opportunity Program), HPP (High Potential Program), URD (Undergraduate Recruitment and Development) and VSEP (Veterans Special Education Program). In addition, Roy organized, consulted and participated on various committees, showing dedication and commitment in assisting minority students at UCLA. His expertise as a counselor extended beyond academia, as he was able to provide numerous students with personal counseling as well, which developed into many lifelong friendships.
Culturally and politically astute, Roy was extremely well read, and possessed an extensive library of books, documentaries and unique pieces of art. He was an avid historian and a true Jazz aficionado. He enjoyed cooking and tending to his garden, but most of all, spending quality time with friends and loved ones.
He leaves to mourn his loving and devoted wife, Clarissa; two sons, Roy Roberson, III, and Christopher Roberson; brothers Lee Roberson and Edgar Roberson; grandchildren – TéRoya Roberson Eason, Nadiyah Roberson, Roy Roberson IV, and Jannah Roberson; 6 great-grandchildren; “adopted” daughters/cousins Rasheeda Garner and Monique Roberson; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, dear friends and former students.
His funeral will be this Friday at Second Baptist Church, 2412 Griffith Ave., Los Angeles, 90011, at 12:30 p.m.