Gamble Funeral Service

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On Sunday, October 30, 2022 James Faust Roberts passed away peacefully at the age of 84 in Hospice House.  He was surrounded by his family.

Jim was born in Christiansburg, Virginia on January 19, 1938 to James Griggs and Damaris Faust Roberts. Jim spent the first part of his life in Roswell, New Mexico as his father was an attorney in the oil and gas industry. At the age of nine, his dad suddenly passed on whereupon Jim and his mother returned to Christiansburg. There, his mother met and married retired Rear Admiral John Kay Clegg of the British Royal Navy. As the homefront  vacillated between Christiansburg, London, and Cape Town, South Africa Jimmy found himself enrolled in boarding school at the tender age of 12 at Woodberry Forest in Madison County, Virginia.

Upon graduation from Woodberry, Jim enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall of 1955. Two years later Jim married Virginia Heidt, a Savannahian, and made this city his home after graduation in 1959. He entered the commercial insurance business with Palmer & Cay where he remained until he retired as Senior VP in the late 1980’s.

An avid scuba diver, Jim and his dive group made the underwater rounds from Bonaire to Bimini, eventually “retiring” in the Florida Keys. Not one to remain idle, Jim obtained his PADI Master Scuba Diver certification and opened several dive shops throughout the Middle Keys. Along with his son Clegg, Jim also obtained his Florida real estate broker license and began a new company specializing in hotel/motel investments and brokerage. Home was a 1973, two-story 46′ Surfside Six houseboat which they moved around very sketchily and with wild abandon from Key Largo to Marathon living the American dream. He was a true islands-type guy, taking great delight in all the Florida Keys has to offer from amateur treasure hunting on weekends off Duck Key to late nights at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West. He read all of Hemingway’s books several times over and flipped through the beautiful pages of Leni Riefenstahl’s Coral Gardens endlessly. He loved rum drinks, palm trees gently blowing in the seabreeze,  breakfast and Winston Churchill.

Jim is preceded in death by his parents and most of his buddies who dined regularly with him at Johnny Harris. He is survived by his first wife, Virginia Heidt Lee and their two children Clegg Roberts and Fran (Austin) Fleming; Sarah (Chelsea) Williams (daughter from second marriage to Jan Hendry-dec.); four grandchildren: Sam Stuber, Claiborne (Hugh) McLaurin; Elizabeth (Matt) McDivitt; Charlie Williams; and Duke his beloved Akita.

There will be a private service for immediate family members. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please be kind to someone less fortunate.


Online Condolences

  1. Christine Odom says:

    So sorry for your loss, Fran and family. He sounds like an amazing man! I’ll look for ways to pay it forward with him in mind.

  2. Dawson Long says:

    I was honored to work in the same building with the coolest guy in the southeast or at least southeast Thunderbolt. I was raised around Palmer&Cay and influenced by his humor and encouragement. You have a legacy of great character in your family.

  3. Marie Booker says:

    Steve and I send our condolences to Fran, Clegg and the extended family. We LOVED Jim! He was always upbeat and so much fun to be around. We have a very good memory of taking Richard to the keys to do his SCUBA checkout dive with him. We spent time diving, drinking rum on his houseboat, listening to Bob Marley, and dining out. He had quite a collection of t shirts he wore diving that he had gotten every mile out of and then some!

    Jim was an espcially great friend to my father, Charlie Fleming. He visited him regularly for years while he was in a nursing home and could always be relied upon the pick dad up and take him to lunch with the guys at Johnny Harris,

    One of his sayings that I will never forget was, “Don’t take any wooden nickels”. I never did. I know you will all miss him. I haven’t seen Jim in several years and I have missed him. I know that he his leaving you all with great memories to cherish.

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