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March 23, 1990 - Image 105

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-03-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LIFESTYLES

A Tuxedo Is More Than A Mere Formality.

PROFILE

Will Roberts: Helping Hand

CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ

Local Columnist

17 Metro Locations
including
OAKLAND MALL

rresident7Puxe(10‘

'Free GrooMs Tuxedo Rental
with a party of six or more.

585-5494
Milt Neuman, Manager

Dance Class Alternative

6th & 7th GRADERS
PRE-TEEN & ADULT
DANCE CLASSES

Mon., Jan. 14
6:30-7:3 SOLD OUT
7:30-8:30 p.m.

10

WEEK SESSIONS
$125.00

Wed.. Jan. 16
6:30-7:3 SOLD OUT
7:30-8:30 p.m.

FALL: 1990
WINTER 1991

Thurs., Ian. 17
7:00-8:00 p.m.

411Dr411.F.
LESHMAN-LYNN ENTERPRISES, INC.

Barbara
851.5133

Dee-Dee
851-4948

I

4c.VX-44
Our c9
greatest
Natural -ia•N-
v7#ResourceS

I " , I it k\\

THE FIFTH QUESTION:

Certified Kosher

Have you ordered your holiday cakes yet?

Kashruth Council

24370 W. Ten Mile Rd., Just W. of Telegraph

102

FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 1990

Metropolitan

355-0088

NAME: Wilbert Roberts
AGE: 68
OCCUPATION: Corporate executive. Vice-
president of R-Way Distributors and
treasurer of Electric One, Inc.
FAMILY: Divorced. Three children:
Pamela Raitt resides in Southfield;
Rachel Elman resides in Huntington
Woods; and son, Nelson Roberts, is
owner of Nu-Tec Construction and
resides in West Bloomfield. He has two
grandchildren. His brother, Ian
Rubinstein, resides in Elgin, Ill. His
sister, Bertha Merzon, lives in Oak
Park, while sister Adele Cole resides in
Southfield. Two sisters, Diane Zuppke
and Miriam Blyvies, reside in Fort
Meyers, Fla. Another sister, Rose
Gordon, lives in Madison, Wis.
EDUCATION: He was graduated from
East Aurora High School in Aurora, Ill.
ORGANIZATIONS: Chairman of the board
of Kingswood Hospital and Michigan
area liaison for the DeSisto School in
Stockbridge, Mass.
FAVORITE BOOK: One favorite author is
Tom Clancy.
HOBBIES: "I have no hobbies except for
the work I do with hospitals and
schools?'
LATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: "I got out of
bed this morning."
PHILOSOPHY: "Be straight forward and
share your feelings. Confrontation in a
positive way is the basic element of all
relationships?'

BACKGROUND: Will Roberts is the tenth
child of Fanny and Nathan Rubinstein
of Aurora, Ill. His father was an
Orthodox rabbi.
"Life was the pits?" recalls Roberts
of his childhood during the Depression.
Besides poverty, Roberts remembers a
troubled adolescence starting at age 12
when his father had a stroke. He also
remembers not feeling comfortable as
an Orthodox Jew in a gentile
neighborhood. "I barely graduated high
school," he adds.
At age 17 he left home for Detroit
because his sister, Bertha, found him a
job. He learned how to become an auto
parts salesman at Progressive Auto on
Linwood Avenue.
From 1942 to 1946 Roberts served in
the U.S. Army's 78th Infantry Division in
Europe. His division witnessed the
liberation of the concentration camps.
After service in the army, he settled
in Flint. He became active in the Flint
Jewish community, serving as gifts
chairman for the United Jewish Appeal,
president of the American Jewish
Congress and a board member of
Congregation Beth Israel. In 1962 he
was the recipient of the National Young
Leadership award. He was a community
volunteer for Flint General Hospital.
While in Flint he founded the
Yankee department stores, the first
discount mass merchandising company
which grew to 20 outlets with an
annual volume over 50 million dollars.
At age 42 he sold his business to
Borman Foods and retired for three
months. He then worked at Chatham
grocery stores as a senior vice-president,
director of marketing. He moved to
Bloomfield Hills and was one of the first
Jews to live near the Cranbrook
Educational Community.
When one of his children had a
behavioral problem, he looked into
private schools. He chose a private
school headed by Michael DeSisto.
When DeSisto left to begin his own
school, Roberts helped organize it in
1978.
Today Roberts is still active in the
DeSisto School in Stockbridge, Mass., in
addition to his business career as vice-
president of R-Way Distributors and
treasurer of Electric One, Inc. He is a
liaison for the Michigan area parents,
whose children attend the school.
Roberts is always available to advise
students, parents and prospective
enrollees. Roberts says that there are
many Jewish students and families
involved with the school. "We do not
take a child; we take a family," Roberts
says.
Roberts is still involved as a hospital

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