When Pat Roberts graduated fourth out of 500 students in high school, her mother Gloria Roberts asked why she wasn’t the first.
And if she or a sibling came home with a grade of 99, their mother would ask why it wasn't a 100.
Gloria Roberts of Massapequa, a competitive woman and a mother with high standards, died of the coronavirus on April 11, her family said. She was 87.
When she was 5 or 6 years old, Pat Roberts told others she wanted to become a surgeon. “Of course, that’s what she’s going to be,” her mother said.
Pat Roberts, now a surgeon at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, said her mother was her biggest supporter.
“She was somebody who, I think, instilled in us a belief that you could do anything you wanted to do if you worked hard enough," Pat Roberts said.
Gloria Roberts was born on July 27, 1932, to Alfred “Jack” and Agnes Bittor of Queens. She graduated Newtown High School at 16 and worked as a legal secretary for six decades.
She and Stanley Roberts married in 1953 in Brooklyn. The couple moved to Old Bethpage in 1960 largely for its school district, said her son, Scott Roberts of Huntington.
Gloria Roberts loved to travel, once opting to sell a car won in a church raffle to pay for a family vacation to Europe in 1972.
“Whenever we were on vacation, we always had to do absolutely everything,” Pat Roberts said. “There were activities from early in the morning to late at night because she didn’t want to miss out on anything.”
Stanley Roberts died in 1995. Gloria Roberts moved to The Bristal Assisted Living in Massapequa in 2013, and Kylie Roberts said her grandmother never lost her competitive drive. Even when they were little, her grandmother would never let her or the other grandchildren win at checkers.
“She would brag to me about how long she would walk on the treadmill for, always beating her personal records,” said Kylie Roberts, 21, of Massapequa.
With “boundless energy,” Gloria Roberts was an immaculate dresser and a bit of a “neat freak," her family said.
“She was one of those people that was just always well put together. Very elegant,” Pat Roberts said. “Perfect makeup. Hair. Everything.”
In addition to Pat and Scott Roberts, Gloria Roberts is survived by her sons, Craig of Louisville, Kentucky, and Doug Roberts of Massapequa, and a number of grandchildren.