Biography

            In the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, visitors can find a fairly large plot of resting places marked with the last name Roberson in section II. Nearest to the walkway, a raised, rectangular, granite grave marker sits with the same Foy Roberson, M.D. etched into the top of it. Foy Roberson was born on September 9, 1884 to Abner Benton Roberson and Cornelia Adeline Stone Roberson. Foy was one of ten children, five boys and five girls (1955, 11/20). He had a brother named Charles who was also a doctor (1931). Another of the Roberson boys was a lawyer. Roberson’s sister Nellie was a beloved librarian at Chapel Hill (1953). All of the children were arguably relatively successful. In 1914, Roberson married Helen Gribble. This was Foy’s only marriage (1933). The couple had three children. The two girls were named Clara Cunningham and Helen Cornelia. The couple’s one son was named Foy Roberson, Junior (Henderson). The son of Foy and Helen was an outstanding member of the Carolina community, specifically the basketball team here. Following his college career, Roy Jr. served in the US military where he was killed in a plane crash as a pilot in 1941 (1955, 11/20). The Roberson Family is native to Chapel Hill. Foy and his siblings as well as his children attended UNC Chapel Hill. Roberson graduated in 1905 and in his time at Carolina he was extremely passionate about athletics, specifically Tar Heel football. He was the captain of the football team his senior year. Coincidentally, Roberson died on November 19, 1955, exactly 50 years after playing his last football game (1955, 11/20). While an undergraduate, Foy was a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. It is also stated that he was a Presbyterian, a democrat, a mason, and an elk. In addition to his undergraduate career, Roberson completed the first two years of his pursuit of his medical degree at UNC. He ended up earning his degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1909 (1933). Roberson is most notable for his medical career. He was renowned in the field of general surgery. Roberson opened his own practice in 1912, shortly after earning his degree, but spent considerable time working at Watts Hospital in Durham and the State Hospital for the Insane in Raleigh, North Carolina. Roberson was a member of several medical organizations including the American College of Surgeons, the North Carolina Medical Society, the Southern Medical Association, the American Medical Association, and the State Board of Medical Examiners (1933). His success as a surgeon landed Roberson in the military. He was commissioned as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army in 1942 and was sent to organize surgical service at McCloskey General Hospital, a large Army hospital in Temple. Texas. Roberson was then promoted to Colonel and assigned the same task as in Texas at a University in Tennessee. He was discharged and back home to his family by 1943 (1943).

Foy Roberson was beloved by the community around him and was highly thought of as an important contributor to and supporter of the University. He served of the UNC athletic council for a great number of years following his attendance of the University. Roberson was a long time trustee of UNC. He also served several years on the council of elders at First Presbyterian Church in Durham. Near his death he agreed to a million dollar housing project that would allow for the construction of over 60 homes on the Roberson estate (1955, 7/19). There is a floor dedicated to him at Watts hospital, where he was on the board for so many years. Additionally, Roberson established an award in honor of his son’s passing. The award is the Foy Roberson Jr. Medal given annually to the UNC basketball player contributing most to team morale (1955, 11/20).  Foy Roberson is a beloved and respected member of the UNC community and he leaves behind a proud legacy.

 

Bibliography

(1931, April 9).Greensboro Daily News. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1933, March 1).The Prison News. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1943, January 10).Chapel Hill Weekly. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1951, November 5).Chapel Hill Weekly. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1953, June 21), News and Observer. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1955, July 19).Chapel Hill Weekly. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1955, November 20).Durham Morning Herald. (North Carolina Collection Clippings             File).

(1955, December 15).Durham Morning Herald. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

(1956, October 2).Chapel Hill Weekly. (North Carolina Collection Clippings File).

Henderson, A. (1941).North Carolina: The Old North State and the New, 5, 573–574.

Reece, T. (Photographer). (2011, 1 15). Foy Roberson, Jr. [Web Photo]. Retrieved      from http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-      bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=49038059&PIpi=37736315

Roberson, H. C. (2013). Foy Roberson MD. Retrieved from          http://trees.ancestry.com/tree/49992828/person/13040753159/photox/8            b71dc06-57ab-4414-b4b8-f3c3ed4af72c?src=search

Watts Hospital in 1917 [Web Photo]. Retrieved from      http://www.barks.org/ncssm/prehistory.html

 

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–By M.R.