Daryl Roberts was born July 6, 1948, in Brigham City, Utah, to Thomas Vernon Roberts and Var C Jensen Roberts. The third of four children, Daryl grew up in the rural town of Malad, Idaho, where they had a big garden and lots of open spaces for a young boy to explore and room to grow friendships that lasted a lifetime.
Daryl enjoyed the great outdoors – hunting, fishing, playing football and basketball. Even as a child, he refused to use his first name (Marvin) – saying it sounded too old-fashioned. He loved playing practical jokes on family members. His sister Gayle remembers Daryl collecting spiders and placing them in a glass jar on Grandma Jones’ kitchen table, just to hear her scream. And, he’s been known to surprise his Mom with a rattlesnake in a glass jar in her kitchen!
As a youth, he worked bailing hay for local farmers and helped at Malad’s co-op. Daryl graduated from Malad High School in 1966 and moved on to study finance and play football at Pocatello State College.
Niece Lisa recalls once when big, tough, muscular Daryl who wasn’t scared of anything was working on his car at Grandpa’s house, he rushed inside, white as a sheet, reporting he’d just seen a UFO. Witnessing Daryl’s complete vulnerability scared everyone!
When his draft number came up in 1968, he didn’t hesitate to join the U.S. Navy, serving in Vietnam. He was one of the few survivors when his river patrol was hit, suffering multiple shrapnel pieces up his backside. He spent more than a month at the naval hospital lying face down in a body sling. Even so, he was proud to serve his country and never forgot his comrades-in-arms. He was honorably discharged in 1971.
After military service, Daryl returned to Salt Lake City where he joined the American Legion Post 71. He worked as a sales representative for Lorillard Tobacco Company and Salt Lake Wholesale Sporting Goods where he sold guns, ammunition and holsters to police departments, prisons, shooting clubs and retailers in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
An avid outdoorsman, in his spare time he enjoyed skiing, bowhunting, muzzle loader and rifle hunting. Friends called him “Buck” because he was a good shot and bagged a great big deer! Daryl was a super-skilled trap shooter – winning at every Trap Club in the Intermountain West. He qualified twice for the national Amateur Trapshooting Association (ATA) tournament in Vandalia, Ohio. He was Utah’s team captain for several years.
Daryl met Judie Jensen at Salt Lake City’s Little America Hotel, a client for both of the companies they were working for at the time. They married September 14, 1979. He was sentimental. Family mattered and he spent many hours at home with their boys while they were young. While he had a rough-and-tumble exterior (big, tall, imposing), Daryl had a very soft heart when it came to family, especially the boys. He taught his older boys Michael and Matthew to hunt deer, coyotes and all sorts of wildlife. He schooled them in the fine art of fly fishing with their Ugly Stick fishing poles. In 1994, he became a stay-at-home Dad with his two younger sons Jeffrey and Tyler while Judie was teaching high school. Over the years, he shared his love of the outdoors with all four sons – Thanksgivings in Idaho, hunting trips and skiing adventures.
Daryl loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles and owned several of them over the years. His favorite was a shiny black Road Glide that he rode to California and parked in his mother-in-law’s spic-and-span garage! Over the years, friends gifted him Harley tee-shirts and other Harley memorabilia from all over the United States.
A flag-waving American, Daryl was devoted to American Legion Post 71 and those who served our country. He started managing the post when his youngest was just a baby; became CEO around 1998 and Post Commander in 2002. Under his leadership, Post 71 flourished. He supported the American Legion Riders and hosted Bagger Balls for several years. It was his all-time favorite job – and he did it with gusto up to his last day on earth!
A quiet straightforward man, Daryl’s actions spoke volumes. He was ready to help a Legionnaire at the drop of a hat, whatever they needed. He never passed up the opportunity to conduct honor guards at other veteran’s memorials. He loved cooking two-pound steaks on the grill for his fellow veterans.
Strong yet gentle, he was called “Big D” by many friends and family. Soft-hearted and sensitive, he teared up at Tyler’s wedding just a week before he passed. He was trustworthy. Warm and tolerant, he never knew a stranger. Self-taught yet wise, he understood the importance of honesty, patience and kindness. And he lived it. Every day.
Daryl was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Var C Roberts; his sisters Vernona Pace and Marlene Bailey; and his daughter, Michele Layn Roberts.
Daryl is survived by his wife Judie Jensen Roberts; his four sons Michael, Matthew (Cassie), Jeffrey (Grace) and Tyler (Damani); three grandchildren Remington Roberts, Jason Baker and Callin Baker (and another on the way!); sister Gayle Roberts (Tom) Swan and many nieces and nephews.
Daryl will be remembered always by his family, friends and fellow veterans at American Legion Post 71. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Post in the Fall.