OBITUARY

G. Brian Roberts

14 March, 194421 March, 2021

G. Brian Roberts, of East Amherst, NY, a third generation funeral director and consultant to the business, succumbed to metastatic lung cancer at age 77 on March 21, 2021. Born on March 14, 1944, Brian, as he preferred to be called, began working for his father George of the George J. Roberts & Sons Funeral Home at the age of 15.

Brian was considered the consummate funeral director. Always considered a gentleman, families looked to him as a pillar of strength. He comforted people in their time of grief, guided them, and empathized with them. He was compassionate, and attentive to all details when he helped plan funeral arrangements. He instilled such confidence in people and showed such genuine care that he made saying good-bye to their loved ones easier. Brian was considered irreplaceable by many people who stated only he would take care of them in their time of need.

As a funeral director common themes resonate about Brian Roberts’ character. He was highly professional, dedicated, knowledgeable, approachable, encouraging, supportive, and very dependable. He treated people with respect, courtesy, and kindness. He was a true asset to the funeral profession.

Known by many as a genuine, loyal friend, he was a man who enjoyed life. If you were with Brian, you were in good company. He made friends easily, had a welcoming demeanor, and always wore a smile. When asked what the “G” stood for in his name he comically stated “Gorgeous” instead of George named after his father. He was devoted to his work and to his family, a loving husband, father, and grandfather, a patriot, and a conservative. As a family man he bestowed his loved ones with lessons of positivity, forgiveness, honor, loyalty, and laughter. He was a beach-goer, sun worshipper, golfer, sports enthusiast, wedding chauffeur to young friends, a sunglass wearer, and a man of faith.

Brian was a proud 1962 graduate of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute. He was a three- sport athlete (football, basketball, and baseball) playing four years of varsity baseball as a left-handed pitcher. He was scouted by the New York Yankees in high school, but a shoulder injury to his pitching arm ended that pursuit. He took great pleasure in pitching two defeats of Canisius High School in his senior year.

Brian spent two years as a JV football co-coach at St. Joe’s immediately after graduation. Active in the Alumni Association and the Board of Trustees, 1986-1992, he helped with fundraising for the building of the weight room (fitness room) at the school. These fundraisers were held at the USS Little Rock for many years. He was also active in developing the St. Joe’s baseball field. Prior to that all games were played in Delaware Park.

One of his proudest achievements was becoming a 1996 Signum Fidei recipient. Signum Fidei is an esteemed award given to an alumnus of St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute who has distinguished himself in his professional career and community activities; an individual who shares in the Lasallian spirit characterized by Signum Fidei (sign of faith) that expresses itself in love and zeal for the welfare of others.

A founding member of the Bertie Bay Social Club, Brian reunited annually with several of his St. Joe’s High school friends for five days of golf and camaraderie. Originally held at his parents’ summer home in Bertie Bay, Ontario, Canada, this group then alternated meeting at the Cape. Their friendship was legendary, and six members served as his pallbearers.

Brian attended the Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse, NY, receiving his license in February 1968. He received the Certificate of Merit from the NYS Funeral Directors Association voted by the faculty and student body as being the person who most personifies the highest standards of excellence in the funeral industry.

Brian joined the 107th Air National Guard of Niagara Falls, NY. In 1968 his unit was activated and sent to Vietnam where he spent one year in active duty as military police. This seemed prophetic as he often mentioned that if he weren’t a funeral director he would have been a policeman. In Vietnam he was exposed to Agent Orange. This contributed to several illnesses later in life one of which ultimately caused his death one week after his 77th birthday. He considered his illnesses a challenge to overcome, was always positive and hopeful, and fought a brave fight

Brian was twice a Board Member of the Cherry Hill Club of Ridgeway, Ontario, Canada having been a member since 1980. He never had trouble joining a foursome. It was said that everyone enjoyed playing golf with Brian regardless of who at the end of the day paid or collected a wager.

Mr. Roberts built his own funeral home at 8630 Transit Road in Amherst in the mid 1990’s. Prior to that he was President of George J. Roberts & Sons and the Bury and Roberts Funeral Homes. He later joined SCI with other funeral homes in WNY. The Friday after his death a bright rainbow shined over the funeral home at 8630 Transit Road now known as the Dengler, Roberts, Perna, Funeral Home.

Over the years Brian was a Board member of Hospice, the Kresge Residence, a member of the Kiwanis Club of Buffalo, and a member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society delivering luncheons and stocking the pantry. He joined the Bishop’s Council of the Laity for 20 years, became a member of the Kenmore Mercy Foundation Board, the St. Francis Foundation, the New York State Funeral Directors Association, and served as past president of the Erie Niagara Funeral Directors Association. He was invited to be a member of the National Select Morticians, an exclusive group composed of American and Canadian funeral directors. Brian was a 40 year member and past president of the Buffalo Executive Association.

Mr. Roberts was past Commander of the Lorenzo Burrows Jr. American Legion Post #78. He was a trustee of the Scholarship fund, a three year $5,000 per semester scholarship given to fund medical school to a candidate who was in the military. He was instrumental in resurrecting the fund in 2008 when it experienced problems.

Visitation was held at the Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home at 8630 Transit Road in East Amherst on Monday, March 29, 2021. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Gregory the Great Church, Williamsville, NY, Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at 10:30 AM with six priests on the altar. The USAir Force Honor Guard presented the US Flag to Mrs. Roberts in the church.

Married nearly 47 years, Mr. Roberts is survived by his wife Carol, and his three daughters: Mackenzie, Carly (Kevin) Klein, and Gina Roberts (Andrew) Bui. Called “Papa G”, he was devoted to his four grandchildren: Kevin, Colin, and Brendan Klein, and Eden Bui.

May you think of him fondly whenever you don your sunglasses.

  • DONATIONS

  • St. Vincent de Paul Society
  • St. Joseph's Collegiate Inst. Athletic Dept.

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, 29 March , 2021

  • Mass of Christian Burial

    Tuesday, 30 March , 2021

Memories

G. Brian Roberts

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Rosemary Sirdevan

22 April 2021

So sorry for your loss. Rosemary S (HAA class of 66)

Annlouise Cirelli

1 April 2021

Dear Carol and Family,

Please accept our deepest sympathy in the passing of Brian. We will always remember his smile and friendly demeanor, his towering stance and, of course, his sunglasses. Please accept our deepest sympathy.

We are making a donation in his memory to the St. Vincent. De Paul Society. May he Rest In Peace. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Warmly,
Annlouise Cirelli & daughter Risa

JOANIE VAN BUREK DEHM

1 April 2021

Dear Carol and Family.....
How lucky we were to have been raised and jitterbugged our way through our teen years in the fifties and early sixties ! I went to Amherst High School and had Betsy Stapler as a wonderful friend from Eggert Rd, Elementary.....ALSO ......the Staplers were neighbors of the Roberts Family at Bertie .....Birdie???....Bay ! Through Betsy, Brian and I met in 9thgrade, along with the Collard, Rittling. Lyons, Khulman etc. gang of St. Joe's pals that Brian was so much a part. The group was the quintessential example of buddies that would remain a part of each others lives forever. Who of us realized how quickly "forever" would pass!? I enjoyed seeing your family photos so much and they underscored the teenage boy that was always so gentle and kind. How lucky you all were to share him as a husband, Dad,Grandfather, and friend. I still enjoy that kind of friendship with Patsy Stelly and Leslie Rittling.
Brian , of course, was our choice to take care of our family's arrangements in 1998 when our mother died suddenly. He was such a comfort to us all !
My dearest thoughts go to all of you now as you lay Brian into the arms of God.
With nothing but lovely memories ......fondly, Joanie Van Burek Dehm

Dave Collard

31 March 2021

Brian has set a wonderful example for all of us to follow on how to deal with a life ending illness. I still can’t believe how positive he was during his entire illness journey. “Feeling good, Dave, and doctors are doing a great job.” We never heard any negative words from him and never once a “why me”?. Instead, he talked about how lucky he was to have met Carol and of course to have his three daughters (how very proud Brian was of his girls) and his grandchildren. I can visualize his smile when he told me about his granddaughter, Eden. To the end Brian thought that he was luckiest/blessed guy in the world.
Many words describe Brian: his love of his country, his somewhat conservative politics, and many more--- but the one that stands out to me was Brian’s great empathy and that is why he was such a great friend, a devoted family man and the very best in his profession. We will miss you Brian but not forget you. Rest in peace dear friend.
Dave Collard, friend of 67 years

Bonnie McMichael

30 March 2021

Neighborhood Memory:
I do have a favorite Mr. Roberts story. It is from Girl Scout cookie time....

The girls always said that if they caught Mrs. Roberts she would say , “ Oh, no thank you, we don’t need any.”
If they caught Mr. Roberts, he would reach for his wallet and pay for them before Carol could say anything...🥰
So of course, they watched for opportunity.
I bet the three Roberts girls knew this trick as well!..... (You have to be firm and disciplined to be a school teacher...Also we ladies are always working on the waistline!)

Personal Memory:
I also now recall an image of Brian donning his sunglasses as we were starting the funeral procession at my mom’s funeral in July of 2013.... He of course was amazingly attentive and compassionate in all of her arrangements!
I remember thinking, “Those aren’t dollar store shades..”.lol!
I need the dollar store glasses because I lose them all the time!

Holy Spirit comfort to Roberts family in this season!

Love,
Bonnie McMichael-Krabill

Laura Fraser

28 March 2021

Carol, Mackenzie, Carly, and Gina - sending you much love and prayers during this difficult time. I’m so sorry I can’t be there in person to offer my condolences, but know that you are in my thoughts. Brian offered so much care and compassion to all of us over the years. He will be greatly missed. With sympathy, Laura (Julian) Fraser

Mary Oshei

28 March 2021

So very sorry for this loss! Got to know the Roberts' family in Bertie Bay all those years ago and then again as Brian and Gary helped my family through so many funerals. Brian was a terrific guy with a wonderful sense of humor. Blessings to you all in this very sad time with love from Memo.

Larry and Kathie Whistler

28 March 2021

We first met Brian when he drove us from our wedding reception to the Buffalo Airport 55 + years ago. Good memories.

MARCIA CARR

28 March 2021

I am saddened to read of the recent death of Brian. He was a wonderful man and a great friend to my brother (Bill Tanner) - I know how much he will be missed.

Mary Crangle Stepanik

28 March 2021

Dear Gary and entire Roberts family,
I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Brian was a pillar of strength, compassion, kindness & understanding. His warm smile, genuine hugs, and easy going nature made our families hardest goodbyes to loved ones, easier. His professionalism & warmth as a special human being was always evident. You are in our prayers & have our sincerest condolences. Thank you for sharing all the beautiful pictures of his smile & the incredible rainbow... he will be with you always!
God bless you all as you grieve his passing.
Love Mary & all the Crangles❤️🌈❤️

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