Lifelong resident celebrates 96th birthday

Photo: Dave Roberts helping his uncle Doug Roberts celebrate his 96th birthday. Photo submitted by Dave Roberts.

RIVERTON — Residents helped Doug Roberts, celebrate his 96th birthday on Friday, Oct. 2.
Roberts is a well-known and prominent member of the community.
He served in the Army during World War II and has also been a member of the Riverton Fire Department for 75 years, serving as its chief at one point during the 1960s.
Roberts has also served as Barkhamsted’s Town Historian for several decades.
As part of a celebration for Roberts, members of the Riverton Fire Department sang “Happy Birthday” outside his residence, where he has lived since 1963.
“Doug always loved the fire department and the Barkhamsted Historical Society,” Roberts’ nephew Dave Roberts said. “He is probably one of the most knowledgeable people I have ever met when it comes to local history. He just loves to tell stories about how things used to be here and how times have changed.”
For years his uncle operated a furniture refinishing business in town for many years, expertly restoring Hitchcock chairs.
“Both Doug and my father were really good salt of the earth men,” Dave Robert said.
“Doug is an institution in this town,” Riverton Fire Department Deputy Chief Norman Bird said. “He is a great storyteller. He was a quiet person, but all you needed to do was ask him a question. It was like hitting the play button on a tape recorder. He would just keep telling you stories. If you ever had a visit with Doug, you would end up spending at least 15 minutes with him before you could escape from all of his stories. I would call him a world-famous storyteller.”
“I would describe Doug as a Yankee gentleman,” Ted Sweeney said.
Sweeney is the Post Commander of the Riverton American Legion Post 159, where Roberts has been a 75-year member.
“A handshake is his bond,” Sweeney said. “He is a man of many stories who has done so many great things for the community. He’s also done a lot of behind the scenes things, then he would allow others to take the fame for the outcomes of it, but he was always there for others.”
“He has a very long history of service in this town,” Barkhamsted First Selectman Donald Stein said. “Doug has more insight into what has taken place in this town over the past 90 years than anyone can imagine. He has been a terrific resource in so many ways.”
“To me, it’s not 96 years-old,” Dave Roberts added. For Doug it’s 96 years young.”

Photos submitted by Dave Roberts