Willard “Big Jim” Roberts, 83, of Edmonds, WA, passed away peacefully early Monday morning. Jim is survived by his wife of 15 years, Linda Roberts; his son, Michael Roberts of Lynnwood, wife of Michael Lee and son Haelin; his daughter, Maria Norris of Everett, husband of Maria Greg and daughter Raeden; stepson Kimo Cole of Edmonds and his wife and sons April, Keala and Levi; her brother and sister-in-law, Don and Sandee Roberts of Wenatchee; her sisters, Kathy Lambe of Arizona and Betty Shenk of Oregon; her brother and sister-in-law Tom and Dee Applebee of Marysville. Jim was predeceased by his wife, Inger Roberts; granddaughter, Katrina Roberts; brothers Larry Roberts, Fred Roberts and Stanley Applebee; sisters Kathy Burns and Arlene Abbeg; parents Willard Roberts and Bertha Applebee.
Jim was born in Oroville, WA and moved to western Washington as a child, eventually settling in Ballard and attending Lincoln High School. There he made a group of longtime friends who have remained close for over 65 years. In high school, Jim started working at Stinker Station on the 45th, becoming a principal. It was there that he met Inger Olsson, and they were married in St. Benedicts in 1961. After serving in the Army Reserves, Jim and Inger settled in North Seattle.
Jim opened the Kwick n Kleen car washes in Lake City and Edmonds in the early 1970s. For a period in the early 1980s, Jim and Inger co-owned the Rosario Resort on Orcas Island, where they resided until 1984. The Roberts eventually returned to Seattle. Jim sold the Lake City location of Kwick n Kleen and focused on practical operations at Edmonds Kwick n Kleen.
Jim was widowed in 1999 with the death of Inger. Several years later, he met and married Linda Cole. Jim and Linda eventually moved from Seattle to Edmonds. The couple had many adventures, traveling both near and far; Hawaii is a favorite with Reno for the annual Hot August Nights auto show.
Always an entrepreneur, Jim was an avid investor and loved to buy and sell cars. In his spare time Jim enjoyed hunting and fishing, but his favorite pastime was bowling. He most often competed in leagues outside of Leilani Lanes. Jim also spent many years as an active member of St. John’s Parish where he sang with the choir and served as usher.
Jim had a kind and generous spirit, always reaching out to lend a hand to anyone in need, be it family, friend, employee or anyone who touched. his heart when he met them. Jim spent many years as a hospice volunteer at Northwest Hospital and over Christmas he was a Santa Claus volunteer with the Forgotten Children’s Fund. After moving to Edmonds, he was a frequent volunteer in Annie’s kitchen at the Lutheran Church in Edmonds.
Jim earned the nickname “Big Jim” Roberts not only for his tall and broad build, but also for his great personality. Jim was a born storyteller and prankster, entertaining everyone with thunderous stories that would make rooms full of people laugh.
Above all, Jim was a beloved and devoted husband, father, brother, friend. He led an exemplary life and inspired all who knew him.
..Bravo, good and faithful servant. Matthew 25:23
Services will be held at the Becks Tribute Center on Tuesday, December 28 at 2 p.m. ET. To share memories or attend virtually, please visit www.beckstributecenter.com.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.