La Grande, Oregon
Roberta Lillian King Exley, 99, of Salem and formerly of La Grande, died Aug. 9 in Salem. Memorial services will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Morningside United Methodist Church.
Roberta was born May 4, 1909, in Hatton, Wash.
A sister of the Theta Upsilon Sorority, she received her bachelor of science degree in home economics from Washington State University in 1932. Though eager to teach, the Depression delayed Roberta’s calling. Roberta continued taking classes and found employment as a babysitter.
In 1933, Roberta began her career as a teacher of home economics and English at Farmington High School. Two years later, Roberta was teaching home economics at Colville Junior High School. While working there, she met Clifford Elmer Exley. He was an English, social science and science teacher and a varsity football coach. They married in June 1936. The couple had two children: John Jay and Carole Kay.
While raising her children, Roberta was a substitute teacher and a member of Eastern Star Chapter 57. From 1938 to 1940, Roberta was bestowed the title of Worthy Matron.
In 1945, the family moved to La Grande where Clifford worked at La Grande Junior High School and Roberta taught home economics at Imbler High School from 1952 to 1968. In addition to the responsibilities of a teacher, she was a junior class adviser, assisted with the school yearbook, directed the school plays, performed librarian duties and was involved in the Girls League.
She was a member of the United Methodist Church and belonged to and remained active in Delta Kappa Gamma (a group for women educators).
In 1976, now both retired, Clifford and Roberta moved to Salem to be closer to family. Roberta’s schedule remained full. As a member of the Morningside United Methodist Church, she was active in the United Methodist Women and “Thursday Thoughts.” As a volunteer, she gave her time at Mission Mill and McKinley Elementary library. As treasurer of the Fairview Condominiums (her home for 28 years), she kept the accounts straight.
As a knowledgeable gardener without a garden of her own, she directed the landscaping at Fairview Condominiums. And as a retired home ec teacher would do, she sewed for the grandchildren, quilted blankets for keepsakes, knitted afghans for family, cooked creative meals and kept a tidy house.
Roberta is survived by four grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Clifford; children, Carole in 1993 and John in 2006; and great-grandson, Shad Cherepanov in 1994.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Special Oympics, Morningside United Methodist Church or the Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship fund in care of Shirley House, 5211 Lardon Road N.E., Salem 97305.
The Observer – August 15, 2008