James Roberts, who was born in 1925, was a graduate of Wirt County High School, where he was an outstanding athlete. During his high school football days, he averaged over 53 yards per punt, made the All-Conference team twice and was a two-time All-State Gridiron performer. In 1942, he was the highest scoring player in the state. He received a football scholarship to Ohio State University, where he graduated with a B.S. degree in 1948. His roommate at the time was Lee Tressel, father of Jim Tressel, former Ohio State University head football coach. In fact, the elder Mr. Tressel and Mr. Roberts were so close, Jim Tressel was named after Mr. Roberts, and the two kept in contact over the years.
Mr. Roberts also played football for two years at Baldwin-Wallace College, where he served with the Navy V-12 Unit during World War II. He received his M.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1949, and returned to Elizabeth, WV, where he owned and operated the Roberts Store for many years. He was also the former president of Wirt County Bank, a Chairman of the Board of WesBanco in Elizabeth, and a member of the Board of Directors for WesBanco in Parkersburg. He was also an avid golfer, participating in all Mountaineer Athletic Club events and was a club champion at Worthington Golf Course. He also loved Mingo Bottom Golf Course in Wirt County. He was inducted into the Mid Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Mrs. Pat Roberts, who established this fund in memory of her late husband, was a 1948 graduate of Parkersburg High School, where she was a member of the Acapella Choir. Mrs. Roberts attended West Virginia Wesleyan College, majoring in secretarial science. James and Pat were married on September 21, 1952. During her lifetime, Mrs. Roberts was a well-respected and active member of the Elizabeth community. She was a member of the Greater Federation of Women's Club (GFWC) of Elizabeth, serving as president and trustee several times and earning a 50-year member gold pin. She also held several GFWC positions at the district level. She was a longtime member of the Elizabeth United Methodist Church, a member of the Parkersburg High School Alumni Association, and an auxiliary member of the West Virginia Association of Retired School Personnel. Mrs. Roberts passed away in 2011. Mrs. Roberts established this fund to honor her husband's wish to provide a scholarship to a deserving Wirt County High School student. Her three daughters also have supported the establishment of this scholarship.