Roberta George, 94, a resident of Santa Barbara, Calif., died peacefully at Cottage Hospital on April 3. She moved last month to Alexander House after five years with her friends at Wood Glen Hall.
Born on a family farm in North Star, Ohio, to Norbert F. and Irene (Goubeaux) Henry, Roberta was the third of nine children and the oldest girl. Her surviving siblings are Marlene A. Litten, Joan C. (Neil) Shearer, Robert L. Henry, LaJeanne M. (Darryl) Burk, and Rebecca C. (Melvin) Swiger. Preceding her in death were her brothers John, Richard, and Donald.
Roberta graduated from Greenville (Ohio) High School in 1946. On Jan. 15, 1949, in Greenville, she married Richard M. (Dick) George of North Star, Ohio. They soon moved to South Bend, Ind., where they began to raise a family while Dick worked on the Studebaker assembly line. They moved to Santa Barbara in 1961, for his work as a technical writer and editor for General Motors Defense Systems Division (later Defense Research Laboratories).
Roberta resumed her working life in the mid-1960s at Regal Cleaners, and then managed a dry cleaning agency on upper State Street. In 1970, she debuted a women’s consignment shop, Roberta’s, on De la Vina Street. She made it one of the premier consignment shops in the city, due both to her friendly but businesslike manner and to her fairness to consigners and customers alike. Roberta sold her store in 1990. It has since operated as Jessica’s. She was a member and proud board member of the local chapter of Business and Professional Women. In retirement, she became a 13-year member of the volunteer corps at St. Francis Hospital downtown and at Unity Shoppe.
Dick died in 1993. In 1997, Roberta married Denver Besecker of Arcanum, Ohio. Mutual friends helped the widow and widower become reacquainted. They married in Our Lady of Sorrows, and Denver moved to Santa Barbara. Being retired, they traveled often and well, visiting Israel, Hawaii, and locations in Europe where Denver served the army in World War II. They also enjoyed annual car trips back to Ohio to see their relatives and friends.
Together, they were volunteers at Arlington Theater and Goleta Valley Hospital, and they never lacked a home improvement project hatched by Roberta or one of her kids. Denver died in 2007 of a heart attack while working on a local Habitat for Humanity home.
Roberta is survived by her six children and two granddaughters: Katherine L. George (John Duclos); Deborah S. George (Chris Pikus) and daughter, Rachel; Michael T. George, Terrance W. George; Constance R. (Steven) Bellamy; and Mary E. Koenig and daughter, Mallory.
This summer, a Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated at San Roque Church. The inurnment will be private. Donations to Unity Shoppe in Roberta’s memory are welcomed by the family. Arrangements are entrusted to Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels. Anyone desiring to send condolences may direct them to: The George Family, c/o Connie and Steve Bellamy, P.O. Box 656, Summerland, CA 93067.