Biography of Fred N. Roberts, Sr.

Fred N Roberts, Sr. was born on December 13, 1938, in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of H. Brittingham and Elsie Holland Roberts, and he had one brother nine years older, H. B. Roberts, Jr.  His father was a successful businessman who was a highway contractor (Roberts Paving Co.) throughout several southeastern states and a producer of sand and gravel products and operator of concrete plants in Virginia (Southern Materials Co.).

After WWII, his father operated Roberts Industries in Salisbury which manufactured wooden toys, furniture, and radio and television cabinets.  At the time of the Korean War, Roberts Industries converted its facilities to a shipyard to produce wooden LCVP landing craft and some steel LST landing craft for the Navy.  At that time Roberts Industries had about 1,000 employees.  After the war that shipyard facility began producing private boats including the mass production of 16’ mahogany outboard pleasure boats (a very unique undertaking at the time) and did major repair work on commercial fishing vessels for several years.

During this period of time Fred was attending public schools in Salisbury.  During his teenage years he was an active member of the Boy Scouts and became an Eagle Scout.  He also earned Scouting’s God & Country Award through his family’s church, Asbury United Methodist Church, where he was an active member until he left for college.  In high school he played football and basketball and was an officer of his class.  He graduated from Wicomico High School in 1957 and entered Vanderbilt University as an eighteen-year-old freshman the same year.  He became a “Vandy” grad in 1961 with a BA degree.  While at Vanderbilt he was an active member and office holder of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity.  After graduating from college, he then enrolled at Stetson University’s College of Law in St. Petersburg, Florida and graduated with the degree of Juris Doctor in 1964.  While at Stetson he was an officer of the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity.

Immediately after getting his JD degree in 1964, he joined the Florida Air National Guard in Jacksonville where he served in the legal department for six years.

In 1965 he joined Gov. Hayden Burns’ office in Tallahassee as an administrative assistant to the Governor.

Family Business in Ocala

In 1966, when Gov. Burns lost in his re-election effort, Fred chose to locate to Ocala, Florida, where his father and brother operated a limestone mining plant at Lowell, which produced high-quality calcium carbonate products intended for use in the feed, phosphate, fertilizer, glass, fiberglass and roofing shingle industries throughout the southeast.  The family’s company, Southern Materials Corp. grew slowly one customer at a time with Fred being responsible for all of its sales and his brother overseeing the operations.  The company was impacted by the untimely passing of Fred and H.B.’s father in 1969.  He had been visiting them in Ocala and died of a heart attack.  From that date forward Fred and H. B. shared the responsibility of growing their successful calcium carbonate business until the company was sold in June, 1983, to the largest calcium carbonate company in Europe.  H. B. shortly thereafter moved to his present home in Charlottesville, Va. and Fred stayed with the company until he resigned in 1985.  He then purchased an office building at 115 Northeast 8th Avenue in Ocala and began to focus on his personal investments in real estate, citrus production, apartment complexes, and many other ventures.

Marriage to Carolyn King

Fred married Carolyn King in 1976 in Bartow, Florida, where she had been in the real estate business with her mother, Lucille King, and sister, Judy Barnett.  They purchased a home in Ocala, and in October, 1978, it became a very busy place with the birth of Fred N. Roberts, Jr.  Then in November, 1980, John King Roberts was born.  From that time forward, Carolyn and Fred have focused their lives on the growth and happiness of their two sons.  Both sons excelled in Ocala’s public school system and were graduates of Forest High School.  Both achieved four-year bachelor degrees from University of Florida.  Fred, Jr. then went to Stetson University College of Law where he also earned a JD degree and is currently practicing law with the Klein & Klein law firm in Ocala.  He married Sarah Pearce in 2009 and they have two young daughters, Ansley and Ava.  He recently was appointed by Governor Rick Scott to serve on the St. Johns Water Management District.

After getting his business degree at UF, John attended the Rollins College Crummer School of Business where he earned his MBA degree.  He then earned a second masters degree in real estate from UF’s Warrington School of Business in 2007.  John is currently vice president and commercial banking officer at Center State Bank in Jacksonville and married Molly Haston in June, 2012.

Community and Civic Service

Starting in 1986 Fred, Sr. had the time and interest to get involved with a number of community and charitable organizations.  Appointed by two governors (Governor Bob Martinez and Governor Lawton Chiles), he served two four-year terms as a member of the District Board of Trustees of Central Florida Community College where he served as chairman.  He was also appointed by the Secretary of State to the Florida Arts Council where he served two terms and was elected chairman twice.  He was also a member of the President’s Community Council at CFCC, is a member of the President’s Council at the University of Florida, serves on the Board of the University Florida Foundation, has served two terms on the board of UF’s Gator Boosters, Inc., has served on the board of the Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Council and served on the board of the Boggy Creek Gang Camp which was co-chaired by actor Paul Newman and General Norman Schwarzkopf.  He was also appointed by the Marion County Commission to serve four years on the boards of both Big Sun Health Care Systems, Inc. and the Marion County Hospital District, which operates Munroe Regional Medical Center where he served as vice-chair of both boards.  He was a founding Cabinet Board member of the Marion County Family YMCA which opened in 1996 and was the first chairman of the board of the Appleton Museum of art in Ocala in 1988.  He has been a member since 1988 and a former president of the Metropolitan Ocala Rotary Club and is a Distinguished Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary International.  He was a founding board member of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame in Citrus Hills and served on that board for five years until just before Ted Williams’ death.

Fred and his entire family are active members of First United Methodist Church of Ocala where Fred has served on both the Board of Trustees and Administrative Board.

For fourteen years, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Barnett Bank of Central Florida, followed by two years on the Nations Bank Board and six years on the Board of AmSouth Bank.  He then became a founding Board member of Gateway Bank of Central Florida in 2005.

His wife, Carolyn, started ROBERTS REAL ESTATE, INC. in 1992 and is president and owner of the firm which specializes in residential, commercial and agricultural property sales and property management.  Fred has served as the company’s chairman since its inception.