Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


March 4, 2013

Roberts will celebrate 105th birthday on Wednesday


Knoxville —

While teaching - up to 29 kids of all ages in one room - Roberts also helped the school purchase a kerosene stove. The stove was used to prepare meals for the children, some of whom may not have had anything more to eat than a slice of buttered bread. 

"That was the nicest thing to do for the kids," Roberts said. 

In her first year of teaching, Roberts earned $70 a month. By the time she "retired" from teaching, she was earning $80. 

It was at that time she married Ralph Roberts. The couple began their life together on Sept. 29, 1929. They rented a 160-acre farm around Ralph's hometown of Attica. 

"Farm life is a good life," Roberts said. They enjoyed a two-story house on the farm. This was more than they needed, and they opened their home to five female teachers and two male miners who worked in the area. Roberts loves to cook, and did so for her family, boarders and farmhands. 

Ralph and Helen worked through the Great Depression, with their farm providing for themselves and their two sons. They spent nearly 20 years on the farm near Attica, then moved to a different one near Knoxville when their sons were leaving the nest. 

"One day, I woke up and decided I wasn't going to be a farmer anymore," Roberts said. This was in November 1948. She answered an ad in the Journal-Express (a paper she has taken and read throughout her life) to work as a receptionist at the Mater Clinic in Collins Memorial Hospital in Knoxville. 

This was the happiest day of her life, she said. She still remembers her days with the hospital fondly. 

Roberts kept the books, took payments, helped the patients and did whatever was asked of her. She held every baby born at the hospital and relished the privilege. One day, she was offered the job as administrator.

Text Only
AP Video
Raw: House OKs Bill for Border Crisis Funds Rare Whale Fossil Pulled From Calif. Backyard Denver Celebrates Pot at the County Fair Escaping Email: Inspired Vision or Pipe Dream? Obama Calls on Hamas to Release Israeli Soldier Hispanic Caucus Slams GOP for Border Bill Shifts Obama: GOP Not Even Trying to Solve Immigration Emory Prepares to Treat American Ebola Cases US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Russell Simmons, LL Cool J Visit Youth at Jail Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian US, UN Announce Deal on Gaza Cease-Fire Despite Moratorium, Detroit Water Worries Remain Faith Leaders Arrested at DC Deportation Protest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

     View Results