Willard “Big Jim” Roberts, 83, of Edmonds, WA, passed away peacefully early Monday morning. Jim is survived by his wife of 15 years, Linda Roberts; his son, Michael Roberts of Lynnwood, Michael’s wife Lee and son Haelin; his daughter, Maria Norris of Everett, Maria’s husband Greg and daughter Raeden; stepson Kimo Cole of Edmonds and his wife and sons, April, Keala, and Levi; his brother and sister-in-law, Don and Sandee Roberts of Wenatchee; his sisters, Kathy Lambe of Arizona and Betty Shenk of Oregon; his brother and sister-in-law Tom and Dee Applebee of Marysville. Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Inger Roberts; granddaughter, Katrina Roberts; brothers Larry Roberts, Fred Roberts, and Stanley Applebee; sisters Kathy Burns, and Arlene Abbeg; parents Willard Roberts and Bertha Applebee.
Jim was born in Oroville, WA and moved as a child to Western Washington, eventually settling in Ballard and attending Lincoln High School. There he made a group of life-long friends that have remained close for over 65 years. During high school, Jim began work at the Stinker Station on 45th, working his way to manager. It was there he met Inger Olsson, and they married at St. Benedicts in 1961. After serving in the Army Reserves, Jim and Inger settled in North Seattle.
Jim opened Kwick n Kleen Car Washes in both Lake City and Edmonds early in the 1970s. For a period in the early 1980s, Jim and Inger were part owners of Rosario Resort on Orcas Island, where they resided until 1984. The Roberts eventually returned to Seattle. Jim sold the Lake City location of Kwick n Kleen and focused on the hands-on operations at Edmonds Kwick n Kleen.
Jim was widowed in 1999 with Inger’s passing. Several years later he met and married Linda Cole. Jim and Linda eventually relocated from Seattle to Edmonds. The pair enjoyed many adventures, traveling both near and far; Hawaii being a particular favorite along with Reno for the annual Hot August Nights car show.
Always the entrepreneur, Jim was an avid investor and loved buying and selling cars. In his free time, Jim enjoyed hunting and fishing, but his favorite pastime was bowling. He most often participated in leagues out of Leilani Lanes. Jim also spent many years as an active member of St. John’s Parish where he sang with the choir and served as an usher.
Jim had a kind and generous spirit, always reaching out to lend a hand up to anyone in need, whether family, friend, employee or anyone who touched his heart when he encountered them. Jim spent many years as a hospice volunteer at Northwest Hospital and at Christmas he was a volunteer Santa with Forgotten Children’s Fund. After moving to Edmonds, he was a frequent volunteer in Annie’s Kitchen at Edmonds Lutheran Church.
Jim earned the nickname “Big Jim” Roberts not only for his tall, broad build but for his big personality. Jim was a born storyteller and jokester, entertaining everyone with uproarious tales that would hold rooms full of people in laughter.
Above all, Jim was a beloved and devoted husband, father, brother, friend. He led an exemplary life and inspired all who knew him.
...Well done, good and faithful servant.. Matthew 25:23
Services will be held at Becks Tribute Center on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 2pm. To share remembrances or attend virtually, please visit www.beckstributecenter.com .
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Seattle Union Gospel Mission.