The Cottages Blog

Howard Roberts is 74 years old and lives at Country Cottage in Decatur, Alabama. He served in the US Navy for four years and was then hired and worked as a civilian for 28 years. Mr. Roberts worked as an aviation fuel specialist for the government. He was married for seven years and then divorced. His hobbies include shooting trap, square dancing, and as a young man, he raced road and track bicycles. He loves the garlic shrimp pasta from O’Charley’s. He says that linguini is his favorite pasta, and that any meal with linguini and white wine is the best.

Mr. Roberts has lived quite an interesting life. In the 1960s, he visited Yellowstone National Park and enjoyed seeing the geysers and the boiling mud. In 1972, he was a stand-by alternate for the Olympic cycling team, but he did not get to participate. In 1980, he earned his college degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies, with a concentration in Park Resource and Management. In 2001, he won two gold medals in the California Senior Olympics for shooting trap.

In 1973, while Mr. Roberts was working at Moffett Federal Airfield in California, a Navy P-3 Orion plane was doing touch-and-goes to practice landing. The air traffic controller had cleared two planes, the Navy P-3 and a Convair-990 from NASA, and the Navy P-3 was on top of the Convair. When the air traffic controller aborted the Convair, it had nowhere to go but up, and the two planes crashed in mid-air. While the fire was being fought, the service vehicles started to run low on diesel fuel. Mr. Roberts was quick to offer to bring a fuel truck to the fire to refill the service vehicles. He received two pictures and a letter of appreciation for this act.

After experiencing so many interesting things, Mr. Roberts says that his favorite memory is having to opportunity to fuel the planes of five different US presidents while he was an aviation fuel specialist. He refueled the planes of Presidents Nixon, Reagan, Johnson, Carter, and Ford.

Mr. Roberts enjoys living at The Cottages because he has “freedom to come and go and to keep my car here.” He says the best piece of advice that he was ever given came from a long-term Navy guy. This man told him, “Love what you do, and do it to your very best every time.”

Susan Abercrombie
Written by: Susan Abercrombie

Susan has 32 years of nursing experience caring for seniors in assisted living and doctors’ offices. She now manages two Cottage communities in Alabama. Susan and her husband of 30 years, Tim, have two dogs, Sydney and Macy.

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