Obituary: Donald Roberts
Peepers, aka Donald Lee Roberts, passed on 7 November 2018 in St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction after a long battle with MRSA.
Peepers was born in Los Angeles, CA on 6 July 1944. He grew up on the beaches of Southern California. Surfing, diving, fishing and any body of water determined much of his life’s course. He and his surf buddies made many memorable surf trips to Mexico at a time when life was much simpler. His love of surfing took him to Hawaii in his late teens where he made the surf movie, Standing Room Only.
Peepers’ love of the ocean and adventure took him around the world. His odyssey began when, upon graduation from high school, he hitchhiked from Los Angeles to Alaska with a rifle on his back. He worked on the fishing boats in Ketchikan until the wanderlust took him to the South Pacific.
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Throughout the South Pacific he worked on copra boats in search of great diving, the perfect wave and immersion in the local culture. He loved Quinn’s Bar on the waterfront in Papeete, Tahiti. Quinn’s was the location for many of Peepers’ stories, being the adventurer that he was. Besides the South Pacific he traveled throughout Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong and Japan. Peepers spent 5 years in San Jose del Cabo before it was “discovered”. He made his own way on his own schedule.
He travelled to Aspen in the 1960s for some skiing and, as so many have done, never left. He lived and worked in the Roaring Fork Valley for most of the remainder of his life where he built homes. He continued to ski, sail, hunt, fish and enjoy an active lifestyle. He was a member of the Aspen Yacht Club for 20 + years.
It was in Aspen that he met the love of his life, Norma. They raised two beautiful daughters together, Alina and Keely. Peepers also had a son, Donald Roberts Jr. Above all the adventure in his life, family came first and Peepers was infinitely proud of Alina and Keely. He taught them both to swim, ski, sail, hunt and fish at young ages. He religiously taught them to be self-sufficient and to work hard in pursuit of their life’s dreams.
He was the most loving Dad for his two girls. Dad If tears could build a stairway and memories build a lane We’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again
Peepers touched many lives in the Roaring Fork Valley and around the world. He will be incredibly missed. There’s a new surfer in heaven! Contributions can be made to the National Geographic’s Protecting the Ocean Initiative.
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