Rebecca Roberts

Rebecca Emlinger Roberts of Wall, NJ, formerly of Brandon Township, passed away on Thursday, February 29, 2024, at the age of 81. Her sons Michael and Adam were by her side.

Rebecca (“Becky” to her family) was born in Alma, Michigan on November 3, 1942, to Merlin and Vivian Emlinger. She grew up with two sisters, Merlene (“Nini”) and Faith, and a brother, Kirk. Another sister, Nancy Jean, died in infancy before Rebecca was born. Most of Rebecca’s early years were spent in and around Alma. In June of 1961, she wedded the love of her life, Larry Roberts. They remained together for over 46 years, until Larry’s death in 2008. They had two sons, Michael in 1964 and Adam in 1968. From 1966 to 1979, the family lived in Flushing, MI before moving to the Brandon Township area, where they resided until Larry’s death.

An accomplished artist and writer, Rebecca produced a large body or work across diverse media throughout her life, including metal, wood, and ceramic sculptures; oil and watercolor paintings, and a variety of mixed media works, including some on paper she made herself; numerous published essays, fiction, journalism, and poetry; and an ambitious work for the stage that she directed and co-produced with her husband Larry in 1991, a fusion of poetry, theater and art called Still Life with Conversation, featuring the work of multiple poets and live painting by an artist. She was also an educator, teaching writing at her alma mater, Oakland University (Master of Arts in English, 1997), and at Oakland Community College.

After being widowed, Rebecca transitioned to Tarpon Springs, Florida. There she established a flourishing writer’s group, culminating in the publication of Undercurrents (2015), an anthology of essays and fiction by members of the group, including herself. She also spent time with her Emlinger and Hitchcock family, many of whom had either moved to Florida, such as her aunt Marjann, or frequently traveled there during the winter, like her beloved cousin Sandra. Rebecca left Florida in 2020 and moved to New Jersey to be closer to her son Adam and his family.

Rebecca is survived by her sons Michael Roberts of Austin, TX, and Adam Roberts of Rumson, NJ, her daughter-in-law Lisa Grand Roberts, her grandsons Samuel and Benjamin, and her brother Kirk, of Indianapolis, IN. She was preceded in death by her husband, Larry; her parents, Merlin and Vivian Emlinger; her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Louis and Irene Roberts; her sister and brother-in-law, Merlene “Nini” and Gerald Black; her niece Darcy Leyder; her sister and brother-in-law, Faith and Terry French; and her sister-in-law, Elizabeth Emlinger.


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