Editor’s note: The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is generally expressed in numbers of cases and deaths. But each data point represents a human life whose loss is felt by countless other people. We are chronicling some of them in an obituary series called Lives Remembered. If you know someone who has died of COVID-19, please tell us about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Lives Remembered,” or by filling out the form at the bottom of this page.
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Douglas Roberts played college baseball, then coached his sons in soccer and Little League baseball.
He was a high school teacher and coach before embarking in a long career in journalism and public relations. A serious and thoughtful man, he was a whiz at Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.
“He just had a fabulous memory, especially for details,” said Kathy Roberts, his wife of 37 years. “So he was pretty hard to beat and extremely competitive.”
Mr. Roberts, who lived in Vancouver, Washington, died on April 1 at 69 from complications of the coronavirus.
Mr. Roberts grew up in Portland, where he went to Parkrose High School. He played baseball at Willamette University in Salem and later got his master’s degree at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.
He had a stint as a history teacher and coach in Portland, then became a sportswriter for The Oregon Journal before turning to public relations work. He spent time as public information specialist for Clackamas Community College in Oregon City, then worked for the Port of Portland, Marine and Aviation Divisions.
In 2007, Mr. Roberts had to retire from work because of complications from a brain tumor. Kathy cared for him at home for 10 years before his condition worsened to the point where he had to enter a family home with a nurse in charge.
“So he was not well when he got the virus,” Kathy Roberts said. “There was a man in the same home who got it, and then Doug got it.”
Before the brain tumor, sports was a constant in Mr. Roberts’ life. He loved golf and played church league baseball into his 40s. He was a huge Oregon Ducks football fan but was compatible with Kathy, who graduated from Washington.
“I had to kind of keep it quiet because he was such a big Oregon fan,” said Kathy Roberts, joking.
Roberts said her husband “was pretty serious and pretty thoughtful, and a really intelligent man who was always trying to learn, always reading and always pushing himself to do more. They said at work, he did as much as three people did. He was very well thought of.”
Mr. Roberts is survived by three sons, including two sons from his first wife, Shelly. After her death, he married Kathy and they had a son. Other survivors include his mother, four siblings and a grandson.
“In the paper and on the news, when they have those numbers of coronavirus deaths, it just seems so clinical, and for those of us that it has touched, it is so personal,” Kathy Roberts said. “Each one of those persons was a loved one.”