- On May 5, 2022
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On Tuesday, May 3, with her family by her side, an angel came to collect Roberta Oliphant and bring her home to her Heavenly Father. Roberta spent 72 years on Earth spreading kindness and love everywhere she went. Born to Anita and Robert Englishman in Paterson, New Jersey on February 23, 1950, she moved to Maryland while in high school where she lived for the majority of her life. During her time in Maryland, Roberta took great joy in everything she did, from working at Pantry Pride, to being a school photographer.
Her greatest joy in life, however, was being a mother and grandmother. Roberta was a proud mother to her three sons, Charlie, Joey and Rob, and stepmom to Harry and Tim. When her oldest son, Charlie, passed away from cystic fibrosis at the age of 11, Roberta committed to keeping his memory alive through her tireless work with the Cystic Fibrosis Walk for Life Relay and in her alter ego – Choo Choo Charlie the clown. Choo Choo Charlie was often seen at restaurants, church events, birthday parties and at Aberdeen Proving Ground events. Even after moving to Bethel Park, Pennsylvania in 2013, Choo Choo Charlie was often spotted in the South Hills of Pittsburgh at various events, bringing smiles and balloon animals to kids and adults alike.
When she wasn’t sporting a red nose, she could be found on the sidelines of the baseball field, volleyball and tennis courts, or whatever other sports her boys were playing. This support carried over to her grandchildren, where she was a staple among the parents and grandparents at soccer and baseball games.
Her adoration of family wasn’t limited to the one she created, but the one she was born into as well. Roberta’s four sisters were also her best friends, and she was forever grateful for their love. Her devotion wasn’t just to family, but also to her faith. Roberta truly loved and trusted in the Lord, and tried to show her Christian faith and love in all she did. She was a proud member of Wesleyan Chapel in Aberdeen, Maryland and Christ United Methodist in Bethel Park, Pa.
Roberta had many hobbies, including baking (and eating) sweets, crocheting, spending countless hours gardening, reading, writing in her journals, collecting dolls, thrift store shopping and taking an excessive amount of pictures of her kids and grandkids. She always prided herself on being the mom that all her sons’ friends knew was there for them, and her door was always open.
She leaves behind a large family who while mourning her death, will go on celebrating her life. Surviving her are her sons Joe and Rob, daughter-in-laws, Sara-Summer and Kristy, grandchildren, Presley, Rylee, Elliot, Nolan, Harley, Beckett, Skylar, Keil and Gracyn, her sister Jamie, cats Sugar and Spice, and many nieces, nephews and friends. She was preceded in death by her son Charlie, mother Anita, father Robert, step-father James, husband Harry, sisters Ronnie, Rosie and Mickey and stepson Tim.
To those who knew Roberta, as she would always say and would want to remind you now, “Don’t forget I love you, and God loves you too.”
At this time, there is no scheduled memorial, but there will be a Celebration of Life in both Pittsburgh and Aberdeen this summer. If so desired, donations in her memory can be made to your local Ronald McDonald House Charity.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28