PHOENIX: (602) 906-9600 | PEORIA: (623) 486-1955

Date of Birth: May 25, 1935

Date of Death: September 15, 2020

James Owen Roberson, 85, of Peoria, Arizona passed away peacefully at his home on September 15, 2020. He was born in his country home outside Lubbock, Texas to the late Albert Owen Roberson and Virginia (Simpson) Roberson on May 25, 1935. He was the ‘best older brother in the world’ to his sister Dolores (Roberson) Gordon. James graduated from Lubbock High School before attending Baylor University where he graduated in 1956 with a BA in Journalism. As a proud Baylor alumni, he was an avid follower of Baylor sports. James married his high school sweetheart, Jo Ann (Van Norman), in May of 1955. He is survived by his five children Melanie Merrill (Robert) of Sun City, AZ, Sharyl Siegel (Robert) of Phoenix, AZ, James Roberson Jr. (Beth) of Sneads Ferry, NC, Trisha Roberson of Benson, NC, Joel Roberson (Deana) of Jacksonville, NC and many beloved grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and sister. He was predeceased by his wife Jo Ann in 1999. Working in the economic development field brought him a successful career allowing him the opportunity to live all over the country and travel the world. He took a special interest in China and developed many relationships there. His favorite position was as CEO/President of the Research Triangle Park, Raleigh North Carolina. He loved seeing the research park grow and thrive as an excellent resource for North Carolina. His accomplishments were many; a few examples are: Director, New Mexico Department of Development, 1967-1970 Director, Rhode Island Department of Economic Development, 1974-1977 Secretary of Economic and Community Development, Maryland, 1979-1983 President, Chamber of Commerce, Louisville, Kentucky, 1983-1988 Chairman of the Board, American Economic Development Council, 1985-1986 Board of Directors, Charlotte Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 1994-1999 President and Chief Executive Officer, Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina, 1988-2004 Board of Directors, Wake Technical Community College Foundation, 2007 Board of Directors, North Carolina Biotechnology Center; Greater Triangle Regional Council; International Economic Development Council Member, American Economic Development Council (past chair); National Association of State Development Agencies; Maryland Economic Development Association (Council of Past Presidents); Association of University-Related Research Parks (past president) Career Achievement Award, Association of University Research Parks, 2000 Lifetime Achievement Award, International Economic Development Council, 2002 Citizen of the World, Council on International Affairs, 2004 He was fortunate to find love again when he met Rita Quinn and had a great 13 years before she lost her fight to cancer. He loved living in Cary, North Carolina and spending time at their Sunset Beach home. After his retirement he moved to Sun City and later Peoria, Arizona and settled in nicely to adult community living. This is where he met his soul mate and best friend, Nancy Skoglund. He felt so blessed that he once again found love. There will be a service and burial at the Historic Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27601 at a future date. Thanks to Best Funeral Services, Peoria, AZ for all the arrangements.

Service Information

Historic Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27601 at a future date.