Former County Executive Dalton Roberts dies at 82 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former County Executive Dalton Roberts dies at 82

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The multi-talented, multi-faceted Dalton Roberts has died at the age of 82, but not without leaving a huge imprint on local government and culture.  Best known as Hamilton County Executive (an office now known as County Mayor) from 1978 to 1994, Roberts was also a writer, singer and musician.

The son of Roy and Nora Roberts grew up in a poor area known as the Watering Trough.  He learned to play guitar as a teen, honing his music skills as he furthered his education.  His first career choice was teaching, but it was clear he had a passion for politics.  Inspired by his mother, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, Roberts became involved in county government.  He first served as county manager before winning his first election for the county's top job in 1978.

During his sixteen years as County Executive, Roberts helped develop industrial sites, championed the convention and trade center, worked to expand recreational areas that became the Riverpark, and often battled with Erlanger Medical Center on fiscal issues.

In his "down time," while in government and after retirement, Roberts always had his guitar handy, and was more than happy to perform his self-written songs for audiences large and small.  He wrote the theme song for the Hamilton County fair, which was created during his administration.  Other Roberts songs found their way on to albums by country stars, or on TV shows.  He also penned a weekly newspaper column until his health prevented him from doing so.

Family members say there will be no funeral or memorial service.

For more of David Carroll's personal thoughts on Dalton Roberts, click here.

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